Now that director Kasi Lemmons has finally turned Harriet Tubman's life into a movie, it's astounding to think that nobody has put this particular biography on the big screen before. And, boy, do we need it—the civil rights hero, feminist icon and rightful face of the $20 bill lived her life without limits to a degree that can sometimes get lost in conventional history books.
It's common knowledge that Tubman escaped slavery and used the Underground Railroad network to free her family and other slaves on multiple, extremely dangerous missions, but Harriet promises to highlight lesser-known aspects of her life, including the fact that she was the first woman to lead an armed raid in the Civil War. (That little expedition led more than 700 slaves to freedom.)
Casting a British actress as one of America's most famous freedom fighters may have initially seemed like an odd choice, but Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale) looks to be perfect in the part, as does Janelle Monáe playing Marie, a free woman who trains Tubman in weaponry and how to out-smart the enemy.
Harriet will finally hit the big screen on November 1. You'll wish that release date was a lot sooner after you watch this: