Lincoln

Since I was a young girl I have looked up and idolized our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, so when I heard that Steven Spielberg was making a movie about the president, I was overly cautious and suspicious that Hollywood could not do him the justice that he deserves.  Not that I think that Spielberg is a bad director or that Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Lincoln, are not excellent members of their craft, I think just the opposite.  I just wasn’t sure that they could present my hero in the manner or esteem that I hold this man and could, in the end, tarnish the man that I hold so dear.  But I went to Lincoln with my father who also loves Lincoln the man and is an even bigger critic than I am.  I have to say that at first I was dead set against liking this movie too fast, but as scene after scene progressed, the Spielberg and Day-Lewis treatment won me over a little more than the scene before.  Lincoln is an amazing movie about a particularly challenging time in the president’s life, when he tried to get the 13th amendment passed through Congress that declared slavery illegal.

At a time when they nation was divided during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finds himself in the position where he wants the nation to be reunited but he also wants to put an end to slavery.  The president has just been re-elected and feels that he has a mandate from the people to do what he can to put an end to slavery and the war.  He has to find a way to please the Republican radicals who want an end to slavery and freedom for every man including citizenship and the right to vote.  And then there are the Democrats who want a peace treaty with the Confederate States of America while allowing slavery to continue.  To get the majority in Congress that he needs to pass the amendment requires him to try and bring the two sides together through compromise and back room dealings to accomplish this task.  Lincoln tells the story of this time when the president used every trick in the book to end slavery and reunite the country at the same time while simultaneously having to be a husband and father.

This movie is an amazing portrayal of the sixteenth president and so far, for me, the best movie of the year.  One could argue that the whole movie comes down to the job that Daniel Day-Lewis does in portraying the president.  He is splendid as Abraham Lincoln, his look, his voice, his mannerisms including his penchant for storytelling, Day-Lewis has done is best work of his career in this film.  His fellow actors including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones (who almost steals the show), and James Spader spectacularly support him.  Spielberg presents the life of this beloved man with all the reverence and respect that it deserves while still allowing for comedic relief and a laugh here and there.  He finds that delicate balance that ensures an amazing movie that although a student of history knows the outcome (the amendment is passed), he so masterfully tells the story that anyone would feel the suspense of whether or not the president can truly pull it off.  Lincoln is bound to be a staple of American history classrooms for years to come and made this Lincoln admirer even more of an admirer of this amazing man who led this nation when it needed it the most.

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