This is a really hard movie to review. It’s a magnificent portrayal of one of the best Presidents this country has known, whose incredible actors, director, and dialogue make it incredibly moving. With that said, it’s somewhat hard to follow for those who don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the Civil War.
Lincoln follows the 16th President of United States a few weeks after his re-election until his death on April 15th 1865. The story told is multifaceted, deep, and covers a lot of ground, ranging from Lincoln’s life as a husband, father, politician, and friend with great results.
Lincoln is a film that, if it was executed properly, would be a masterpiece; but if the filmmakers failed to capture the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, would be forgotten. With the amount of talent involved, it’s no surprise that it succeeded. Backed by some of the best talent in Hollywood, Lincoln succeeds on nearly every front, and is a movie everyone should see.
One of the major reasons it succeeds is because of its masterful cast. Daniel Day-Lewis is an absolute genius, and his portrayal of Lincoln couldn’t have been any better. Kind hearted yet stern when needed, Day-Lewis’ performance at least guarantees him a nomination for Best Actor, if not a win.
Nearly every actor involved here performs great; Sally Fields was wonderful as Lincoln’s wife, and she really captures the essence of one who’s husband is trying to both stop a war and abolish slavery. Tommy Lee Jones is fantastic as always, and nearly steals every scene he’s in.
The only downside to the cast is that not everyone gets the time needed to really shine. For instance, Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s, (one of my favorite up-and-coming actors) portrayal of Robert Lincoln as the son who wants to ignore his parents and join the war is pretty flat.
Without enough screen-time to really develop, JGL gets one good, but very brief scene with Day-Lewis and that’s it. The same can be said of several other actors, who have maybe one good scene and then are nearly forgotten. Although not uncommon for a film of this size, it’s still a little disappointing.
But audiences aren’t going to go and see this movie for the supporting actors; they’re coming for Lincoln and his story; and in that regard the film does not disappoint. It hits all the right notes, and every shot, camera angle, and scene is oozing with authenticity.
Spielberg really outdid himself here, and it’s his directing that really helps the audience see and understand Abraham Lincoln in a way they may not have before. Lincoln is without a doubt some of his best work.
However, I fear the film may be hard to follow for those who haven’t had an in-depth study of the Civil War, or hasn’t read about it in some time. Lincoln expects you to have a pretty thorough knowledge of the events surrounding Lincoln, and at times I felt a little lost as to who was who and what exactly was happening.
Blame it on the fact that I haven’t studied the Civil War in at least five years, but because the characters don’t get any kind of formal introduction and you never really know how the scene you’re watching falls into the timeline, Lincoln had me a bit confused at times.
It wasn’t enough to really detract from my enjoyment of the film, but it was an issue my dad and I both shared after the credits rolled. I’m sure Lincoln will be remembered for a long time, with good reason, and I really hope the average movie-goer is able to embrace it as the masterpiece it is.
Lincoln does nearly everything it should’ve, as it is a touching, accurate, and honest portrayal of our 16th President. It’s a movie I think everyone should see, and it deserves all the awards and recognition it gets.
But some under-developed characters and perhaps too much reliance on the viewer’s historical knowledge keep it from being the perfect movie experience. It is, however, the perfect Abraham Lincoln film.
I had a lot of trouble coming up with a score for this film, so while I am assigning it a score, please know that I absolutely loved this movie, and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s amazing as it is, and I hope it stays in our memories for a very long time.