ENTERTAINMENT
09/06/2013 11:54 pm ET | Updated Sep 09, 2013

'12 Years A Slave' Stuns Toronto, Compared To 'Schindler's List'

One week after "12 Years A Slave" debuted at the Telluride Film Festival to rave reviews, Steve McQueen's film won even greater acclaim after its official premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday night.

"I am composed enough to say '12 Years A Slave' is the best, most emotionally powerful movie I have seen in a decade, at least," BuzzFeed senior film reporter Adam B. Vary wrote on Twitter in the first of two tweets about the film. "I would be afraid about overselling '12 Years a Slave,' but if you love cinema and storytelling and are human, you will understand." Vary elaborated on those thoughts in a piece for BuzzFeed called "'12 Years A Slave' Is The Must-See Movie Of The Year, And Should Win All The Oscars."

He wasn't alone in effusive praise for the film: "Suspend the betting, close the books, and notify the engraver: I've just seen what will surely be this year's Best Picture winner, and it's '12 Years a Slave,'" Vulture movies editor Kyle Buchanan wrote in his "12 Years A Slave" piece, titled "Toronto: Your Best Picture Winner Will Be '12 Years A Slave.'" "I'd put my money on a historic Best Director win for Steve McQueen, and I'd mark Chiwetel Ejiofor as the frontrunner for Best Actor. Like, what's gonna beat this movie? Freakin' 'Monuments Men'?" (The George Clooney film, about a group of soldiers hunting down lost art stolen by the Nazis, is set for release in December.)

Ejiofor, McQueen, Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o were in attendance at the Toronto premiere, along with co-star and producer Brad Pitt. "If I never get to participate in a film again, this is it for me," co-star Brad Pitt said during a Q&A after the screening (via Variety). "It was a privilege."

Ahead, a selection of post-screening tweets from critics and journalists at the Toronto International Film Festival. Fox Searchlight will release "12 Years A Slave" on Oct. 18, following its U.S. debut at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 8.

12 YEARS A SLAVE is the SAVING PRIVATE RYAN of slavery movies. In that it goes all in on the horrors of a subject like we've never seen.

— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) September 7, 2013

If a film as searing, brilliant and important as 12 YEARS A SLAVE can't win Best Pic, Oscars have no purpose. It is unbelievable. #TIFF13

— Tim Robey (@trim_obey) September 7, 2013

12 Years a Slave was brutal and relentless and tough... great performances and craftsmanship but hard to recommend to just anyone.

— Edward Douglas (@EDouglasWW) September 7, 2013

Tears after watching 12 Years a Slave. Powerful, difficult film to watch #TIFF13

— Alex Suskind (@AlexJSuskind) September 7, 2013

Finally saw 12 Years a Slave and it's amazing! Chiwetel Ejiofor was just brilliant! Fassbender is just outstanding!

— Wilson Morales (@blackfilm) September 7, 2013

12 Years a Slave is one of those films, like Schindler's List, that makes you truly feel history by taking an atrocity out of the abstract.

— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) September 7, 2013

Apt comparison for 12 Years a Slave is not black-white films but Schindler's List--cataclysmic period we thought we knew redfined by cinema

— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) September 7, 2013

Can't get much better than Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender facing off in 12 Years a Slave. Strong. #tiff2013

— Logan Hill (@loganhill33) September 7, 2013

There is a scene in 12 YEARS A SLAVE that was one of the hardest I've ever had to watch. What a movie. Kinda speechless. #TIFF

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) September 7, 2013

12 YEARS A SLAVE: Believe Oscar buzz. McQueen nails horror of America's shame but also finds humanity. CE towers, MF terrifies. #TIFF13

— Peter Howell (@peterhowellfilm) September 7, 2013

12 YEARS A SLAVE: Kind of speechless. Unbelievably powerful. Moving. Chiwetel astounds. Fassbender repulsive. #TIFF13

— Adam Chitwood (@adamchitwood) September 7, 2013

Am still in state of shock and on verge of tears after 12 Years A Slave. Chiwetel Ejiofor holy fuck. #TIFF13

— Jada Yuan (@jadabird) September 7, 2013

2013 Toronto International Film Festival

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