If you enjoy history, particularly American Civil War history – then you should enjoy “Lincoln”. Steven Spielberg is at it again and bringing one whopper of drama into theaters just in time for Award Season. “Lincoln” is filled with greatness. I overheard some folks that are familiar with the business fuss about the technical aspects of the movie. WHATEVER! Folks, do yourselves a favor and go see “Lincoln”! Every American should watch this movie, really. Probably the greatest criticism I can give to this film is that I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie. I felt like I was watching history unfold.
Daniel Day-Lewis is astounding as Honest Abe. He is without question the frontrunner in every award race this season for best actor. His performance is so good, that I would rank it right up there with anything that Meryl Streep has done. Yeah, his performance is THAT good. If he doesn’t win Golden Globe/Oscar/SAG award, then the movie industry is just plain imbalanced. His mannerisms are so natural that I was swearing to myself that surely that is what Mr. Lincoln must have sounded like. His walk, his voice, his hand gestures – everything about him seemed so right! I wondered if the stories he tells in the movie were really anecdotes that the President actually said. The line between fiction and reality is so wonderfully blurred by Lewis’ performance that I wanted to give him a standing ovation at the end of the film!
The film is a dramatic piece and it focuses on the political proceedings surrounding the amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery forever. It is part Civil War “West Wing” and part courtroom drama. Both appeal to me, so it was all good. The best part about the story was seeing how close we came as a people to shelving this crucial Amendment. It was Lincoln that altered that course of history and every time I read about his choices as President I am simply astounded. Abraham Lincoln was truly a great President. You want to know what a magnificent leader he was? I suggest you watch this movie! I know a lot of films like to embellish the truth a little (or a terrible amount, depending) to make a better movie. I get it; it’s fiction – not a documentary. Still though, “Lincoln” seems to give it to you straight as well as handing you the periphery storylines concerning some of the other key players. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones) was one such tale.
I saw so many wonderful other performances in this film too. James Spader is fantastic, and so too is Sally Field! Tommy Lee Jones is fairly brilliant as well, but that could also just be chalked up to GREAT casting. Sally Field as Mrs. Lincoln was just simply perfect; I don’t think anyone could have done a better job with that role. Hal Holbrook, Jason Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce McGill, and Jackie Earle Haley, and Jared Harris (that’s Moriarty!) are all brilliant in the film as well.
I can say that without question, this film is a masterpiece. It is utterly realistic and wonderfully executed. Kudos to Speilberg once more! This is a holiday treat worth every penny and at 2 hours, 30 minutes, it makes you feel like you have truly gotten your money’s worth. BRAVO, Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis!!!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE