The Journey of August King

August King was an interesting film. There were some things that gave me pause. The main thing being all of the animal killings during the two character's journey. I'm not sure if the writer included these deaths to symbolize the importance of human life over animal life or just that sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

Annalees (Thandie Newton) is a runaway slave looking for help.

He was the only slave owner in the area. 

The main character is a white man named August King. He helps a runaway slave escape to the North. Watching this film it is very clear that the journey this film takes us on is for August King's benefit not Annalees'. Her characterization is low but I will include everything I could pick up about Annalees.

She offers August a silver watch for his help. 

Other name less Black folks in the film. All belonged to the same master.

Her father is her master. she was a house slave and she did not like having to clean and cook. I felt having her complain (almost whine) about having to wash dishes and iron clothes made her seem like a spoiled child running away from her father and not a runaway slave. That was a feeling I did not like I felt that was too simple and not deep enough. Even as the biracial child of a white master being a slave would be no walk in the park. I felt the writing glossed over that narrative completely. The whole time Annalees is missing, her master and father is crying and drinking alcohol. He is very sad and pathetic without Annalees, he really wants to get her back. When getting people to search for her he demands that she comes back unsullied and unharmed. He even tells August that Annalees was "like a ray of sunlight" for him.

The deepest Annalees gets is when August says, "You had a roof over your head. Why run away?" she replies, "To keep him from taken my soul."

I wonder why her character thought her master/father would take her soul away. Was there more darkness to their relationship then let on? These are all things we could have known for sure had this been Annalees' journey.


"I know what they do to me, all those men. I'll jump off a cliff before they catch me."

"I know I has to find my own life in the North."

I was sure a romantic scene would follow, BUT one never came. This was something that really surprised me. I was sure I had the end of the film pegged. 

In August King's late wife's dress

This is literally the last we see of  Annalees. She walks until she is a little dot and the credits roll. Does Annalees ever make it North? We'll never know. But we can hope she did.

The film takes place in 1815 North Carolina. The first part of the film is narrated by Maya Angelou. There are many good things about this film. I believed the film could have focused more on Annalees story but overall I think the film was nice. I would recommend it.

You can rent or buy The Journey of August King using the Blacks in Period Films Amazon Associates Affiliate link.

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