Movie Review: Lincoln (2012)
Written by Anthony Sargon
Ever since it was announced that Daniel Day-Lewis would be portraying Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's long delayed project, people got excited. Lewis is arguably one of the finest actors of our generation, and Spielberg one our top directors. The results of this collaboration are unsurprisingly brilliant, and this movie has the word Oscars pasted all over it.
The film is not a biography of Lincoln's entire life, rather a look at his final few months where he struggled to pass the 13th amendment, which would end the civil war and abolish slavery. The hardships of passing such an amendment are beautifully depicted, with politicians acting much like they do to this day, stubborn. Lincoln has to fight for every vote, and he needs to be extremely resilient if he means to succeed. The film briefly focuses on Lincoln's personal life; his arguments with his son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) about joining the military, and the effects they have on his relationship with his wife (Sally Field).
The movie does two great things simultaneously: It serves as an accurate biography of a man who remains a mystery to the general public, and it exposes how politics worked back in the 1860s. People have read and heard that Lincoln has done great things, but they now get a chance to witness how he did it. The film is very much a period drama, which may sound like a boring history lesson to some, but it's extremely enthralling thanks to an amazing central performance, beautiful cinematography, and some of Spielberg's best directing in years (sorry, "War Horse").
Daniel Day-Lewis was born to play Lincoln. From the moment you see him on-screen, you forget that you're watching an actor at work as you're transported to 1865. His performance is so rich and heartfelt that a third Oscar for Lewis is almost guaranteed at this point. There are a lot of other talented actors in "Lincoln" that it can be hard to keep track of them all, but the one stand out is Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, a powerful and witty leader who strongly supported Lincoln's amendment. Regardless, this is Daniel Day-Lewis's show, and he owns it.
When it comes to production values, this is a Spielberg film at the end of the day, so expect some beautiful cinematography, great costume design, and a beautiful score by John Williams. It would be impossible not to praise Spielberg for crafting such a focused story on one of the most influential characters in history, and by doing it in such an engrossing and informative manner.
"Lincoln" is every bit as good as this reviewer had hoped it would be. Anchored by the year's best performance, "Lincoln" is a worthy film for one of history's most compelling characters, a film deserving of your attention.
Numerical Score: 9/10
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