Harriet review



Zach Dulny, Critic

“Harriet” is a 2019 drama that tells the story of the underground railroad conductor, Harriet Tubman. The movie is set up for success with its powerful storyline. This movie is great to watch once. With some powerful acting and amazing score, the movie is very strong. However, there are several parts that bring the film down, 

This movie does a lot right. The best aspects have to be the main actress and the soundtrack. The leading actress, Cynthia Erivo, gives a powerhouse of a performance. Her adaptation of Harriet Tubman alone is a reason to watch this movie. She’s strong, smart and human. By human I mean her acting seems real, like an actual person, not just a character on the screen, which draws the audience into her mind and makes them feel her emotions.

There was also a featured character that was Harriet’s dad, who had a recurring trait involving a blindfold. It’s really interesting and heartbreaking. It’s a great touch to a character that could be thrown away.  

The soundtrack was also a powerful aspect of the movie. A lot of the songs are hymns based on songs that slaves would sing with each other while they were working. This style of music really emphasized the feeling of hope and happiness mixed with sadness that gives a tear-jerking effect that the movie was most likely trying to give off. 

The second act is where the movie falls. That is where it begins to drag on. The first act is very strong. It keeps you on your toes and makes you want to keep watching.  Since this movie pertains to historical topics, many viewers know how the story ends. The audience knows the lead will have a happy ending and everything will be resolved. The movie builds up suspense and tries to act like we want to know what will happen, but we do know what will happen from the start, and I don’t think the movie realizes that. The final act makes you cry and is amazing to watch. It takes up those feelings with the characters and the struggles they face and delivers a happy ending. A happy ending that feels nice to the viewer. The main character defeats the villain and it ends with all the good stuff that happened to the main character. However, the middle act drags on. Although so much happens in this act, it still just doesn’t flow.

Another part of the movie that brings it down is Harriet’s gift. Something that was reported to be true in real life, is used almost like a superpower. Harriet can talk to God and God tells Harriet what to do. What may be an amazing concept to think about it really breaks down how strong the audience perceives Harriet Tubman to have been. She is shown to be someone who can do whatever she wants because God will help her. It just feels unreal. Especially since the real Harriet Tubman made it because of her strong stamina and will to keep going.

Overall, this movie is beautiful, but not everything works. It could be an amazing film, especially with the unique soundtrack and the powerful leading actress. Yet, it falls flat. It’s boring in some parts but still is powerful. I enjoyed it, but I don’t see myself wanting to watch it ever again.


Grade: C+ (3.5/5)