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Starring: Will Smith, Ben Foster, Steven Ogg, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Apple TV+ historical action thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua. Inspired by a true story, Emancipation (2022) centers on runaway slave, Peter (Will Smith), who forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed him, to reunite with his family.
Our Favorite Quotes:'They cut me. They burn me. They burn my neck. They burn my feet. They break the bones in my body more times than I can count. But they never, never break me.' - Peter (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Peter: Give thanks to God, for He is good. His love endures forever. The Lord is with me. I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me? The Lord is my helper. I will look in triumph at my enemies. The Lord is with me. He is my strength and my defense. He has become my salvation. The Lord is God. He will shine upon those who trust in him.
Scipion: [as Peter is being taken] Papa!
Peter: I will come back to you!
Howard: [to Peter] You a cold one, ain’t you?
Peter: What do they call you?
Peter: Do you have a family, Tomas? A wife? Someone to think about? A mama? Then remember, this is just work. Same as you always done. Just work.
Peter: [to Tomas] God is with us.
John: How can you say that to him? “God is with us.” Where is he? And why has he not set you free? Hmm? Or has he? Oh. So you are not in these? Well, then stand up. Stand up. Go. Stand up. Stand up, and praise your God for all he has done for you, for all of us.
John: [to Tomas] You. God is not with you. He is nowhere. And he sends that fool to tell us about his word. To be a good slave. To be obedient to your masters. Is that what God says to you?
Peter: God says many things. I do not know why God shows himself to some people and not to others. But if you do not know him, I will pray for you.
Howard: Lincoln freed the slaves.
Howard: Lincoln freed the slaves.
Howard: Desperate man, Lincoln. You know, according to one of these other papers from a couple weeks back, slaves are running to Baton Rouge from every direction now that Grant holds the town. Fixing for liberty. One and all.
'I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me? The Lord is my helper. I will look in triumph at my enemies.' - Peter (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Jim Fassel: I’m your God. You walk the Earth because I let you. You’re my dog now.
Peter: Perhaps you will give me some of that fine meat you give your other dog.
Jim Fassel: You’re funny now, big stick. You’ll see.
John: [referring to Peter] He’s a dead man.
Jim Fassel: [to Peter] You miss your family? The dog’s got your scent. So do I.
Peter: I heard it myself. Slaves are free.
Gordon: Free? Says who?
Peter: Lincoln. We must get to Baton Rouge. Lincoln’s army is there.
Gordon: So, where is Baton Rouge?
Peter: Five days through the swamp.
Gordon: There are many ways to die in a swamp.
Peter: There are many ways to die here.
Tomas: If you go, I’ll follow.
'There are many ways to die in a swamp.' - Gordon, 'There are many ways to die here.' - Peter (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Jim Fassel: [after they capture Tomas] Where are we going? Do you know where you’re going, or are you just running? I take you back to that camp, they’re going to grind you up like meat. You tell me where your friends are heading though, and I’ll let you go. You ain’t worth chasing.
Jim Fassel: Swamp’s everywhere. Which direction? North? East?
Tomas: Had an idea to get to Lincoln’s army.
John: I have a gun.
Peter: They have more.
John: I am going.
Peter: Do not.
John: You are not my master.
Gordon: [referring to John after he leaves] He is too brave. I follow you.
Peter: No, we must go our own way. Harder to track.
Gordon: You abandon me?
Peter: Never. Go through the swamp. Follow the sound of Lincoln’s cannons. Go.
Betsy: Mama, you alright?
Dodienne: [referring to Peter] Saw your papa.
Betsy: You think he’s alive?
Dodienne: I know it.
Betsy: What if he don’t come back?
Dodienne: Your papa is going to be back. Do not ever stop believing that.
'When we came here, they insisted that we change. Change our names, our language. They even tried to change who we are. Your papa taught us to hold on. Now it is our turn to do the same for him. Hold on. Hold on to each other.' Click To Tweet
Dodienne: [in Haitian Creole] I’ve seen your papa survive things most men can’t. When we came here, they insisted that we change. Change our names, our language. They even tried to change who we are. Your papa taught us to hold on. Now it is our turn to do the same for him. Hold on. Hold on to each other.
Jim Fassel: Running. Hiding. Surviving. People make them out to be ignorant, but far from it. In fact, what’s worse, is they tend to be persistent. See, one gets free, then another, then another, then another, then another. And someday, they may return the favor on us. Can you imagine?
Peter: The Lord is my salvation.
John: You do not own me! I am not going back! I am not a slave. I am a man. I am a man! I am a man!
[Fassel then shoots him]
Betsy: Mama, you can’t.
Dodienne: Man sold me off.
Betsy: We need to run.
Dodienne: Hey. Do you know what happens to runners? Huh?
Betsy: We can’t do nothing. You’re getting sent away, Mama. We can’t do nothing.
Dodienne: I know. Don’t you know? I know, Betsy.
Dodienne: Did I say I’m doing nothing? Huh?
'I shall fear no enemy.' - Peter (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Dodienne: We need to stay together.
Betsy: There ain’t no other way?
Dodienne: It’s the only way.
Knowls: You fought that gator. You fought that gator and survived.
Peter: You are the worst kind. The worst kind.
Jim Fassel: [pointing his gun at Peter] I told you I was your God.
Peter: [to Fassel after he’s shot by the Union Army] You are not my God.
'If someone must allow you to do something, then you are not really free, are you?' - Peter (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: You alone?
Peter: Can you take me to my family?
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: [as Peter collapses] Help this man.
Scipion: What are they, Papa?
Peter: God’s little angels.
Scipion: Why are they here?
Peter: They guide our way.
'We fight for something bigger. We fight for freedom. Not to prove something to some General. Freedom! Freedom for you! Freedom for the man next to you. Freedom for the people back in the fields!' - Lt. Andrew Cailloux Click To Tweet
Sister Margaret: Didn’t think you would make it. Your leg was so infected.
Peter: Where is this?
Sister Margaret: Baton Rouge.
Peter: I must get to my family.
Sister Margaret: You must rest.
Major G. Halstead: Your name?
Major G. Halstead: Age?
Peter: I don’t know.
Major G. Halstead: Well, pick something.
Peter: You pick something.
Major G. Halstead: Forty-eight.
'We will not ask for freedom! We will not wait for freedom to be handed to us! We will take freedom!' - Lt. Andrew Cailloux (Emancipation) Click To Tweet
Peter: Am I not free?
Major G. Halstead: Just keep yourself steady. Technically, while you’re here, you’re contraband. Stolen property.
Peter: I must get to my family.
Peter: You write down their names. Lincoln say I am free.
Major G. Halstead: Oh, he did? Well, that’s a good thing. Next time you see Lincoln, please give him my compliments. Right now you’re in an army camp, during a time of war. Understand? So you and everyone else who ran here has a choice. You’ll work on one of the Federal farms, governed by this here set of rules and regulations.
Peter: I will not.
Major G. Halstead: Or you will join the army.
Major G. Halstead: You help us beat these godforsaken devils, my good man, and you will not just get back with your family. You will help free your family. And I’m sure your good friend Lincoln will be mighty proud of you, Mr. Peter.
Gordon: Good to see you, my friend.
Peter: Good to see you. How are you?
Gordon: We made it.
Peter: Yes, we have.
Peter: No, he did not make it.
Peter: They’re going to let us fight.
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: They may not have a choice. Be ready.
Oliver: It’s called a camera.
Peter: What does it do?
Oliver: Well, see, it makes a likeness of you. Peter, we’re going to make sure that every person in the world knows exactly what slavery truly looks like.
Peter: You were born a free man?
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: Yeah, that’s right. Bunch of us in this company.
Peter: Allowed to read and to write?
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: Allowed to do a lot of things.
Peter: If someone must allow you to do something, then you are not really free, are you?
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: No.
General William Dwight: How the hell did you survive all those days in the swamp?
Peter: I know the swamp.
General William Dwight: Yes, well, doesn’t mean you’re fit for combat.
General William Dwight: [to Peter] Are you fighters, or are you runners? You know what I see here? Disobedience. Dismissed.
Peter: I fight them. And they beat me. They whip me. They string me up. They sell me. They throw me down a well. They pull me out and beat me again. And I fight them again. They cut me. They burn me. They burn my neck. They burn my feet. They break the bones in my body more times than I can count. But they never, never break me.
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: [to Peter] You know, I used to run around New Orleans calling myself the blackest man in America. You might got me beat.
Lt. Andrew Cailloux: All of us ran here. But as of now, no more running. Billy Yank and Johnny Reb, they fight for money and power. We fight for something bigger. We fight for freedom. Not to prove something to some General. Freedom! Freedom for you! Freedom for the man next to you. Freedom for the people back in the fields! We will not ask for freedom! We will not wait for freedom to be handed to us! We will take freedom!
Gordon: [after he’s shot] They got me. They got me!
Peter: We are not dead!
Peter: We cannot stay here. We must get to those cannons. We must fight! We must get to those cannons! Get to those cannons!
Sgt Maj James Ingraham: We are the Louisiana Native Guard. You folks are free.
Enslaved Man #1: Free? What you mean free?
Sgt Maj James Ingraham: You’re free. You ain’t got to do this no more.
Enslaved Man #2: Listen to this man. We is free. Free.
Dodienne: [after they are reunited] We are together. I Dreamt of this.
Peter: God is so good. God is so good. Thank you, God.