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Is The New Will Smith Stared Movie “Emancipation” Based On A True Story?

Will Smith in Emancipation
Will Smith in "Emancipation" (Credits: Apple TV)

The new Will Smith movie is finally here and is already getting attention from all kinds of viewers around the world. This is Will Smith’s one of the most anticipated works after his controversial act at the Oscars.

His slap on Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022 can affect the true potential of the film, as many people might reject watching the film just for the Oscars incident. Nonetheless, it can’t be denied that Will Smith has worked very hard on this film, and this movie might offer us some life lessons if we are willing to take it.

The film was released in theaters on December 2, 2022. The film was released in very limited cinemas. And after a week of its theatrical release, the film was available for streaming on Apple’s own streaming platform, Apple TV+.

The casting crew did a very good job and was pivotal for the film’s success. The casting of Will Smith for the main role of Peter was one of the key factors behind the hype of this film.

Especially after the Oscars incident, questions rose about his career, and it was suspected that this incident might affect his upcoming projects, but the production team took the risk anyway. And it proved to be a very good risk.

Now, let’s talk about the plot a little bit so that you can get an idea of whether to watch the film yourself or not. The next section will contain some spoilers, so if you do not want any of it, skip the next part, and you will be all good to go without spoiling a little bit of your viewing experience. For those who do not mind spoilers, feel free to keep reading.

A Little Bit of the Plot of Emancipation

Will Smith plays the role of an African American man, Peter. Peter is a typical American guy who has a loving family. He lives in Louisiana with his wife and children and leads a very simple life. But his simple and loving life is yet to see some very cruel chapters. One day, some people came, and he was taken away from his family by those same people.

Will Smith as Peter with other enslaved people in Emancipation

Will Smith as Peter with other enslaved people in “Emancipation” (Credits: Apple TV)

His family cries and begs for mercy and the release of Peter, but perhaps they are not enough for them to alter their decision. So they took away Peter despite the wailing of his family. He was taken away from his family to work for some white landowners.

It was in the year 1863 when this type of illegal and immoral slavery was on the rise. On his way to his forced destination, he noticed some cut-off heads of many men, and they were placed on the grounds like they were some trophies to showcase to others.

Then he is forced by some men to work as a slave, and they also give the same kind of treatment to his fellow slaves. It is a situation that no innocent man deserves to face.

Will Smith as enslaved Peter in Emancipation

Will Smith as enslaved Peter in “Emancipation” (Credits: Apple TV)

Then he saw some white men treat every other slave poorly, and he couldn’t keep his eyes shut. He then stands up against those white men to protect the other forced slaves. But some of the whites do not seem to like it. One of the slaveowners makes it very clear by his next actions.

One of them, named Fassel, starts to treat Peter like a dog, and he also tries to force Peter to beg for food from him. This incident sparks a fire within him, and he decides to escape this cruel environment and return to his family.

He then learns that some of the slaves are always freed at Baton Rouge after working day and night for their respective masters. And from here, Peter’s plan of escape starts to form shape.

Is Emancipation Based on A True story?

The original photo of ‘Whipped Peter’ was actually taken on April 2, 1863. According to reports, the original Peter’s real name was Gordon, and he was a victim of the slavery system in 19th-century America. But the movie makers have implemented some of their own ideas into the film, like showing the family of Peter, which is not proven to be exactly as real life Peter.

Emancipation Whipped Peter Real Image

Whipped Peter’s real image 

Peter is also seen speaking Haitian Creole. It is shown as the first language of the reel life of Peter. But in reality, his actual first language was French, which was common for every enslaved person in Louisiana.

This is another aspect of the film where the director has used his creative liberty. So, all in all, most of the story of the film is inspired and kind of based on the real-life incidents of Gordon, or ‘Whipped Peter.’

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