Even with the Presidential election now over, our nation is still in a flux. And while the Republican and Democratic parties promise bipartisanship, my pessimism towards the government remains unchanged. If only all politicians could possess the same moxie as Abraham Lincoln. Of course, my opinion of Lincoln stems only from textbooks. In "Lincoln," director Steven Spielberg does little to tarnish Abraham Lincoln's reputation as one of the most beloved U.S. Presidents.
"Lincoln" details the President's quest to abolish slavery while seeking peace with the Confederacy. By abolishing slavery, however, Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) jeopardizes losing the South for good, or at least until enough lives have been lost.
Lincoln must also go to war with the Democrats, who do not want to see slavery abolished. Meanwhile, his fellow republicans are split on the idea. Some are staunch supporters of the abolition, while others believe the law would prolong the Civil War.
"Lincoln" isn't just a film for historical buffs and political junkies. Regardless of how knowledgeable you are about the Civil War, "Lincoln" is charming and inspiring. Spielberg's storytelling techniques are nothing new, but he's still successful at recreating the urgent atmosphere of that time period.
Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as Lincoln is perfectly executed. Like Lincoln, Day-Lewis possesses charisma, tenacity and fragility, and although there's no voice or video recording of Lincoln, Day-Lewis's voice and even his gait seem Lincoln-esque
From the male performances I've seen so far this year, I can tell you that Day Lewis is a shoo-in for a Best Actor nomination.
There are a number of other great performances, including Sally Field. She is well cast as Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln's tortured, emotionally volatile wife. In one scene Mary envisions how history will perceive her once she's gone. Unlike Lincoln, who she is certain will be immortalized, history will make Mary out to be a woman unhinged and Lincoln's greatest burden. James Spader's small but memorable role as a pro-abolition vote swayer must resemble what today's lobbyists do for a living—annoy on-the-fence representatives until they change their mind.
Apparently Lincoln was known for telling lengthy anecdotes, and there are a few imagined reenactments in "Lincoln," though some of the anecdotes are a bit drawn out. This is perhaps my biggest complaint about the film. There are a several instances where I found myself lost in Lincoln's conversations, which are more like abbreviated speeches. For most of the film, Lincoln is electrifying, but at times the dialogue becomes dull or arduous. Still, "Lincoln" is a superb biopic, providing us a glimpse into the life of one of the most influential politicians in our nation's history.
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