The history of the United States is one that is bloody, confusing, and rapid. No truer do all those things apply than the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln and what he did for the country. “Lincoln” opens after one of the major battles of the Civil War as it enters its fourth year. A company of black soldiers regroup as the president sits there almost like a curious observer. When the soldiers realize that he’s there, they all want to talk to him. But they don’t want to talk about what his political plans are for how to end the war, nor do they want to remind him how many soliders have already died since the war started. Instead they want to talk about rumors and tall tales told about Lincoln’s life and childhood. They are mesmerized over how tall he is and just wants to hear him tell stories like an entertaining grandfather. The whole movie takes place in the backdrop of the debate going on in Congress to pass the 13th Amendment (which would abolish slavery nationwide.) Just like it’s done today, (or supposed to be done anyway) Congress is in session in order to debate the passing of the amendment while the president himself is also trying to end the Civil War once and for all.
Steven Spielberg takes on another historical epic like he did with “Saving Private Ryan” but this time we’re dealing with real people in history. Many books and memoirs have been written about Lincoln and his life and presidency. Daniel Day-Lewis just became the 16th president of the United States. In virtually every scene, Lincoln will go off on some tangent by telling a silly story about his past and will somehow incorporate a message or compelling argument on whatever is being discussed. And even though there exists no recorded audio of what Abraham Lincoln sounded like, Day-Lewis delivers/created a voice for this role that compliments the character and personality of how Lincoln was historically as a man.
Day-Lewis WILL win the Academy Award. Sally Field (who played Mary Todd Lincoln) DESERVES TO win the Academy Award, although she probably won’t. Along with an all-star cast such like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathain, and Jackie Earle Haley to name a few.
Here’s a huge disclaimer though that sums up my whole assessment of the movie in a nutshell: The more you know or the more you’re interested in American History, the more you will enjoy this movie. Every role was flawlessly and perfectly cast and it is because of this that the movie is more than bearable even if you’re not a history buff. Why? Because the movie is a nothing but scene after scene of a different combination of historic figures talking, arguing, and insulting each other. What is known as “Talking Heads.” For 2 1/2 hours…
If you enjoy or are studying American History and/or want to see a masterfully-acted movie, watch “Lincoln.” If you prefer something with more action and creative liberties (no pun intended) taken on historical events, you’ll be better off seeing “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”