LINCOLN THE MOVIE - A REVIEW
Seldom does a movie come along that brings history alive with such realism and accuracy that one can experience how that history actually took place. Steven Spielberg's, "Lincoln," is that movie. Bringing together an all star cast with performances that can only be described as extraordinary and a story that is exceptional Spielberg has brought to the screen an instant classic that brings the last months of the life of the 16th President to life in a way never before seen since those final months actually took place.
Tommy Lee Jones gives one of his best performances as Thaddeus Stevens, known as the leader of the, "radical Republicans, " who lead the fight for the passage of the 13th Amendment to abolish Slavery and is well known as the zealot who sought to force a policy of repercussion against the South after the Civil War and also leading the Impeachment in the House against President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor.
Sally Field earns praise as Marry Todd Lincoln portraying the 16th First Lady as the outspoken yet somewhat mad women who was well known in Washington as a spendthrift and in the last years of the Lincoln Presidency bordered on insanity as she never recovered from the death of the Lincoln's 11 year old son Willie. Field brings to the screen the complicated Mary Todd in a performance that ranks among her best.
David Strathairn one of the best character actors in Hollywood brings to life Secretary of State William Seward in such realism that one can almost see the pictures of Lincoln's Secretary of States each time Strathairn is on the screen. His interaction with Lincoln and portrayal of Lincoln's chief Cabinet position shows the importance of Seward in the Lincoln Administration and history as never before.
Yet with all of the masterful performances each pales in comparison with that of Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Many brilliant actors from Hal Holbrook to Henry Fonda had portrayed Lincoln on the big screen but no one has brought the 16th President to life as well as Lewis. Other performances has tried to portray Lincoln in the greatness that history shows him to be. Lewis reveals Lincoln as a simple man who through his personality and convictions express greatness. A greatness that demands the respect and admiration of even his political foes.
The movie is based in part on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book, "Team of Rivals," a brilliantly written character study of Lincoln and those who he brought into his Cabinet first as political foes he needed close to him in order to, "keep and eye," on them because of their staunch opposition of him. Then over time came to admire and respect Lincoln as they saw the greatness of a man they initially thought a buffoon.
Spielberg centers his movie on the final months of the Civil War and Lincoln's life as he battles to pass the 13th Amendment to The Constitution that abolished Slavery in The United States. A battle that even with the war still had tremendous opposition in especially the Democrat party. Republicans backed the Amendment without exception for passage but Lincoln with help from members of his staff and administration has to coax 20 members of the Democrat opposition in order to bring passage of the Amendment and end slavery officially in America.
Spielberg's Lincoln is one of the best historical dramas ever produced. It brings well known historical figures to life in such realism that one feels a part of the history and not just an observer watching a movie. It portrays one of the most important moments in American history, the passage of the 13th Amendment and how so may worked and sacrificed in order to make the necessary change to the Constitution to bring freedom to millions.
For history buffs like me, "Lincoln," is a must see. For movie fans," Lincoln," is a must see. For those who have even a fleeting interest in the past and how that past shapes the present and our future ,"Lincoln," is a must see. Many have speculated that, "Lincoln," will be the top nominated movie for the 2013 Academy Awards. In this I agree and not because of the political aspect the awards have become but because of an exceptional movie with exceptional acting. Don't miss this excellent movie.