Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5
Daniel Day-Lewis (or is it Daniel-Day Lewis?) is a tour-de-force in this Oscar-worthy performance confirming with me he’s one our the top actors in films today. He is Lincoln, and while I was prepared for a slow first hour (thanks to Howard Stern’s assessment) I was never bored. Spielberg directed this with incredible attention to period detail that fascinated, from the way Lincoln traveled around Washington (a driver who carried a rifle was his only protection while his neighbors didn’t give him a second glance), to his office (constituents were given 1 on 1 audience to plead their case, no matter how minor), to the internal political wranglings, reminiscent of today’s situation where a newly re-elected president tries to pass major legislation (in 1865 it was the 13th amendment banning slavery) while the opposing party controls the House of Representatives. Tommie Lee Jones is terrific as the fervent single-issue abolitionist, as is Hal Holbrook as the slick power broker who must be catered to. While keeping the story suspenseful (we know the outcome!) and entertaining, we learn how politicking was done, how Abe conducted his business, how his “crazy” wife (excellent Sallie Field) pushed him to be more relentless in winning his political battle, how the House was more like British Parliament is today with people shouting down and insulting each other. Most importantly, you get a glimpse of how brutal the Civil War was, with the hand-to-hand bayonetting and fighting to the death, and what a battlefield looks like afterwards. It’s hard to believe that Americans fought each other like this only 4-5 generations ago. You see how the southern states wanted to negotiate peace as though they were a sovereign nation, while the North treated them like individual rebels from within the one nation. I recommend this for all audiences.
Bill C’s Review 4 out of 5
Bill has not left me much to say. What makes this movie so worthwhile is Day-Lewis’ performance, the realistic view of what the U.S. was like in the mid-1800s, and how our government worked so long ago.