By Steve Farace
Ah, Honest Abe. Steven Speilberg attempts to bring the 16th President of the United States back to life on the big screen…the question is, how’d he do?
I walked into the movie screening of Lincoln very excited to see the film after watching the trailer and reading everything that people had to say about it. Lincoln is a movie based on the trials and tribulations that Abraham Lincoln had to go through as he attempted to manage both the Civil War and abolish slavery in unison.
My warning to you as you prepare yourself to see this film, is to realize that this is not an action film and this is no Saving Private Ryan. That being said, the pace to this movie is that of a snail. There are several scenes where pieces of the war are shown, but there is much more talk of the action of war rather than seeing the war itself.
The fascinating part about Lincoln is that it does such a superlative job of showing what actually goes on behind the scenes. It brings you back to a time where there was no Facebook or Twitter and we weren’t being asked to “Rock the Vote”. It shows how Abraham Lincoln had to do whatever it took to force bipartisanship. The abolishment of slavery was far too important to him to leave it to chance and he made sure his people knew that they needed to do whatever it took to get those votes. That could even mean anything from threatening or bribing those that opposed him.
On to the acting – Daniel Day-Lewis plays an unbelievable Lincoln. The resemblance is uncanny and he sounds just like you would think Lincoln would have sounded. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sally Field round out the Lincoln family and do a great job as well. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens plays his role as a hard-nosed politician as well as anyone I can remember.
Spielberg does a great job with Lincoln. He doesn’t try to do too much with it. He has put together a superb ensemble of actors and steered clear of their path. Sometimes the greatest direction is just letting the actors take the wheel. Spielberg has done that here. He brings out everything that the characters have to offer and in a movie that is looking to bring out the historical relevance of a time period that is of the utmost importance. Lincoln will not catch your attention for the action it brings to the table, but for the performances its actors give and the history lesson given.
With our very own presidential election right around the corner, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln appropriately reminds us how one great man’s brave decisions in the past can teach us a few lessons on how we can live in the future.
Final Word – 3 Stars