A remarkable drama based on the memoir of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free New York family man abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War American South.

British director Steve McQueen’s powerful, unflinching and often unbearably harrowing film is often difficult to watch but, ultimately, it’s a tale of resilience and survival.

Ejiofor’s terrific acting – embodying Solomon’s dignity and intelligence as well as his suffering – makes the point emphatically and also making their mark are Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt as the more kind-hearted faces of his incarceration, Michael Fassebender and Paul Dano as the cruel sides of the story and Lupita Nyong’o as a tormented slave.

The film was nominated for nine Oscars, winning three – Best Motion Picture, Nyong’o for Actress and John Ridley for Best Adapted Screenplay.