The new movie bringing Harriet Tubman — the Underground Railroad’s most famous conductor — to the big screen offers a different portrait of the celebrated figure than the stately image typically depicted in American history. And its tale of a steel-willed young heroine in an action-packed story has a special resonance in the Canadian city the famed anti-slavery activist once called home.
“We think of Harriet Tubman [and] we think of the old woman in the chair, right? But Harriet Tubman was doing this work when she was in her 20s and it’s really an incredibly marvellous thing to think about: a young woman who has this kind of agency,” director Kasi Lemmons said of Harriet, her new film hitting theatres this weekend.
Harriet is the first ever feature-length film about the heroic American figure.
“It’s really about what can be accomplished with sheer force of will — that’s what I want people to come away with,” Lemmons said earlier this fall, when Harriet debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival.