Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Josheph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Lee Pace, Jackie Earle Haley, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Gulliver McGrath, Joseph Cross, Julie White, Jared Harris
I’ve been a bit disappointed with Steven Spielberg over the last few years. As a producer/director he’s churned out some not-so-great films like War Horse, Real Steel and Super 8. But with Lincoln he’s back in form making movies the good old way and being true to his favourite subject material and it shows.
Yes some of you may find Lincoln a tad slow and too dialogue-heavy. If you’re not someone who appreciates fine writing, clever wit and intricate intellectual conversation then you may find Lincoln a bit boring. I for one did not. The presence of Daniel Day-Lewis certainly helped hold one’s attention but if it were not for screenwriter Tony Kushner’s fine words and Steven Spielberg’s fluid pacing of the four months of 16th President of the United States’ Abraham Lincolns tenure, this film would indeed be a damp squib.
As it is, it is near perfect in showing us how one of America’s and indeed the world’s most beloved leaders dealt with the American Civil War between the Northern United States and the Southern Confederacy. Of course the deeper issue and one close to Lincoln’s heart: the abolition of slavery, is what forms the crux of this wonderful journey of this brilliant man.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution must be pushed through the House of Representatives and Lincoln, his Republican Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn) and his cabinet must find a way to convince the slave-loving Democrats that bonded labour no longer had a place in the modern world.
Daniel Day-Lewis may not be the spitting image of Abraham Lincoln but he’s close and thankfully they’ve not caked him up with a lot of make-up and prosthetics. Subtly he manages to convey great wisdom and power, only occasionally erupting in anger but even then it is a controlled burst. He’s the kind of man that makes you think of a warm fire, a comfy carpet and a glass of brandy. Sally Field as his wife (who has gotten a bad rep so far for being a curmudgeon) is more of the woman behind the great man who doesn’t always approve of her husband’s decisions. She wears her heart on her sleeve.
Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, James Spader, Lee Pace and most of the other actors provide enough meat and wit to this wonderful history lesson. I say history lesson because that’s what it is, but it is so masterfully told with so much vigour and emotion that you are eager to know more and are grateful to be there in the White House with this great man as he makes the decisions that shaped a nation’s future forever. The people’s President, Lincoln never falters and neither does the movie that has a dozen Oscar nominations.
DID YOU KNOW… that Daniel Day-Lewis actually said no to Spielberg for Lincoln. A new screenplay was written and only then did he say yes!