By Mike Kinnerk ‘20

“Harriet,” a new biopic movie depicting the strugglesome life of American hero Harriet Tubman, has been wowing audiences since it opened in theaters at the beginning of the month. The film captures the courageous life that Tubman led and depicts the toil she underwent to save not only herself but hundreds of others, too.

Cynthia Erivo, a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress who plays the American hero, embodies the character with such grace and persistence. Her performance makes this movie. She should garner an Oscar nomination and hopefully a win, earning the coveted EGOT status (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award winner) in less than 5 years. Erivo’s captivating and compelling performance shows people how heroic and brave Tubman was, especially in such tumultuous times.

The movie left me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was watching it. I think the directors purposefully added a great amount of tension to the movie to show audiences the stakes that runaway slaves lived under every single day.

Moviegoer Patricia Walsh said, “This movie opened my eyes to how truly amazing Harriet Tubman was. It made me feel quite nervous, yet happy for the characters as they ran away from their plantations and gained the freedom they deserve.”

My favorite part of this movie was when Harriet Tubman gained her freedom. After traveling 100 miles alone and on foot, Harriet reached the Pennsylvania border.  She stood atop a hill, overlooking Philadelphia, the sun shining on her face, grasping the air, crying because she was finally free. This tear-jerking scene evoked an overwhelming amount of emotion and exemplified how otherworldly it was for the slaves to gain their freedom.

This movie perfectly depicted the exceptional life of Harriet Tubman. It showed viewers all of her amazing feats: traveling 100 miles to freedom, freeing over 750 slaves in the Underground Railroad, and being one of the only women in American history to lead an army battalion.

Her great accomplishments raise one major question on how we can honor her today: should Harriet Tubman be on the twenty-dollar bill? In my opinion, Harriet Tubman is more deserving of the honor than the current holder Andrew Jackson. Harriet Tubman saved countless lives and made so many societal changes that impacted our country for the better. That deserves great recognition. Andrew Jackson did many things that positively impacted the country, but none as influential as Harriet Tubman.

Overall, “Harriet” is a must-see for all Americans. It teaches us to be more empathetic to all kinds of people; It teaches us about a specific part of history that we do not learn much about; Lastly, it teaches us how to stand up to adversity.