Monday, December 31, 2012

8. Lincoln

Directed by Steven Spielberg. I went to see the film a bit skeptical. Spielberg has a tendency to create films that are unbearably sentimental. In this film, he exercised great restraint, the movie is surprisingly accurate and tells the story of a much different Lincoln from the flawless hero that we came to admire in our youth. It is a great, Hollywood movie about a great, flawed president of a great, flawed nation. You can argue about the flaws, but allow yourself to be moved by the grandeur of Tony Kushner’s great script and Daniel Day-Lewis’s in what seems effortless performance.

Sitting through the first half hour of "Lincoln," with its dry, marginally uninteresting depiction of 19th-century American politics, I nearly believed that the film would be filed under my dislikes, especially with Steven Spielberg directing. And then I was proven wrong. Some people came out of the film saying it was the best movie they have ever seen, I was definitely not in that group but it was a great experience that for an hour restored my faith in politicians.

Daniel Day-Lewis, from the opening scene to the film's poignant conclusion, does a brilliant job channeling the nation's 16th president. His depiction of Lincoln is accurate, with very little embellishments. Lincoln speaks with a weak, wispy voice, using language that sometimes reveals his humble, upbringing. As it ends up, Lincoln himself was not above dirty political tactics. He conceals information from Congress and hires lobbyists to win over the support of some racist Democrats, but I guess those are the unavoidable political games. The film is for sure a winner.

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