Genre: Biography, Drama, History, War
Lincoln takes place during the civil war when Abraham Lincoln, coming up on his 2nd term as President of the United States, decides to pass an amendment to end slavery for the South.
Daniel Day-Lewis has had a remarkable career as a great actor and you will find few, if any that will argue this point. Still, I went into Lincoln expecting to watch his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln and instead watched history play out on screen as if the actual president was there.
Lincoln has some of the best acting I have seen in a film being that every player brought their A game to the table. One of the biggest standouts with this (outside of Daniel Day Lewis) was Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens – one of the most memorable performances for me. Sally Field plays Lincoln’s battle-axe of a wife Mary Todd, and David Strathairn as William Seward.
People who have a true curiosity as to how laws, policy and Lincoln operated back in the days of the Civil War should 100% see this movie, but please don’t assume this is a blood and guts action, drama film like Edward Zwick’s Glory, or Ronald F. Maxwell’s Gettysburg. Lincoln is played out mostly in the dark recesses of the old white house with a few shots taking place in the battlefield.
If I was to find anything to complain about in Lincoln it would be the few patronizing shots that catered to the soon-to-be-free blacks of the time; but this is just me being a cynic. Lincoln shows the relative comfort that people of the time had with being racist and how dangerous and unpopular it was to want slaves freed (considering the financial hit it meant for the racist slavers of the south).
Lincoln had some really great stories told by the man himself (a thing that he was known to do) and some wonderful interactions between Mr. Tommy Lee Jones and the Democratic brass. The genius in Director Steven Spielberg chose to cast Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee and the damn thing worked so well I felt as if I was watching the legendary General himself on screen.
You may hear echoes of Lincoln being “boring” or people nit-picking at subtle liberties made with the time and wardrobe, but for those who truly want to see a chunk of history played out by some of our greatest actors, this is the movie to see.