As editor of CNikky.com I have to see a lot of movies throughout the year for interviews, reviews etc. I all honesty, Lincoln was one of the best films of 2012! Steven Spielsberg captured the story of President Lincoln in a way that made us understand, why he was one of the most beloved Presidents in American history. Daniel Day Lewis will definitely get an Oscar nomination for his inspiring performance. He captured the layers and complexities of a President, father, husband, storyteller and leader so well, that you forgot he was acting and believed Honest Abe had been brought back to life. Every American should see this story of our history, The movie focuses on the last year of his life, the ending of the Civil War and the passing of the 13th Amendment (which ended slavery). Watch the trailer below and read an outstanding review from Nola.com.
As evidence, one needs only watch Steven Spielberg‘s magnificent — and magnificently timed — “Lincoln,” an Oscar-ready historical masterpiece that does double duty as a history lesson and as a reminder of the paralytic limitations of a house divided.
Yes, our 16th president belongs to the ages in the sense that is he’s an iconic, larger-than-life figure. But “Lincoln” builds a convincing case that there’s much more to it than that. Honest Abe belongs to the ages in that his wisdom, his conviction and his notable legacy live on as strongly today as the day he died in 1865 — and that we, as a nation currently crippled by a particularly ugly strain of partisanship, can still learn valuable lessons from him.
And then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis‘ lead performance, part of an astonishing transformation in which Day-Lewis doesn’t just portray the president but becomes him, exuding an unshakable credibility from the film’s very first frame. It’s a role for which Day-Lewis prepared for a full year, and it was time well-spent. I predict that it will bring him his third Oscar on Feb. 24.
His portrayal isn’t just a portrait of a speech-giver. Rather, it’s an intimate look at Lincoln as a person — a husband, a father, a man — rather than the caricature we so often get. (Particularly affecting is a scene in which Lincoln approaches his sleeping son by the fire, pushes the scattered toy soldiers out of the way, then unfolds his lanky frame and lays down beside the boy before kissing him gently. It’s pure filmmaking invention, sure — but enormously effective.)
Day-Lewis is so good that it makes it easy to overlook the strength of his supporting cast, from Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, to Tommy Lee Jones as the abrasive abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens to James Spader in a bit of roguish bit of comic relief as one of Lincoln’s shady, “Runaway Jury”-like consensus builders.
Then there’s the wonderful story line, which is unusual in that it focuses on just a narrow slice of Lincoln’s presidency. The meat of the movie — based on a screenplay by Tony Kushner, in turn partly based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” — covers only about a month of time. But what an eventful month it is.
That time is early 1865, a period in which Lincoln struggles to find a way to hasten an end of the Civil War and, at the same time, build enough political support in the House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery once and for all. That latter task was particularly daunting, as Lincoln faced not only from those in the Democratic Party, but from within his own Republican ranks – and, indeed, from some of those on his own Cabinet.
So he works to build a coalition — through political maneuvering, political ingenuity and outright political bribery — but when Confederate leaders approach him with an offer of peace talks, things are suddenly complicated. If the war ends before the amendment is passed, Lincoln realizes, needed support for it will evaporate.
Snapshot: A historical drama focusing on the political tightrope President Abraham Lincoln had to walk upon as he worked to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery while also bringing about an end to the Civil War.
What works: Well-acted and beautifully directed, it is a masterpiece that does double duty as a history lesson and as a reminder of the paralytic limitations of a house divided.
What doesn’t: It’s dense and talky at times, and, as such, takes a few minutes to warm up.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Sally Field, James Spader. Director: Steven Spielberg. Rating: PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language.