Lincoln – Steven Spielberg; Review

I have grown up with Steven Spielberg.

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I watched “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” before I grew to appreciate them. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” was the first that brought me to tears. My teens were full of the adventures of Indiana Jones. “The Color Purple” and “Always” fittingly bridged my gap to adulthood. Dinosaurs stomped around my early twenties in Jurassic form. Since then he has been more serious, while still managing to appeal to the teenager within with favourites like “Schindler’s List”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Amistad”, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, “Minority Report”, “Catch Me If You Can” and, more recently, “The Adventures of Tintin”.

Lincoln”, his first collaboration with Daniel Day Lewis, promised to be something else. It did not disappoint.

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Two and a half hours of intense negotiations between President and cabinet, between President and Mrs. Lincoln, between President and sons, between Republicans and Democrats, between slaves and masters, between envoys and Generals. Every word is important.

It is a homage to the U.S. collective and honoured memory of Abraham Lincoln, this is not just a misty eyed view of how North America wrestled itself from their bloody civil war but a lesson in the importance and delicacy of the Democratic process. Every story of this type must take liberties but when it is displayed with the mastery of Spielberg’s story telling skills and with a cast able to support Daniel Day Lewis’ calibre of acting it feels like we are watching history.

It is difficult to choose an actor who stood out more; Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader all deserve accolades for bringing Tony Kushner’s riveting and text heavy script to life.

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But in the hands of Spielberg and Day-Lewis scenes that served merely to push the plot ahead turn into mini masterpieces, one in particular stands out, watch out for Lincoln’s dictation of a telegram and the reference to Euclid.

Still Spielberg has his moments which he seems to put into every movie he makes. Here they are few and far between and highly forgivable.

Catch it in the cinema if you can.

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5 responses to “Lincoln – Steven Spielberg; Review

  1. No mention of “Schindler’s List” old boy? His finest work ever in my humble opinion. Spot on with the review tho’. I think too that this film will get better with time and revionist reviews. Lincoln is still one of the most mis-understood characters in American history. The more people learn about him (from this film hopefully) the better he will be appreciated as an extraordinary man in extraordinary times for the people of that young nation.

  2. I LOVE Abraham Lincoln. He’s my hero and although I haven’t had the chance to see this yet, I HUNGER to do so. You do know that Mary Todd Lincoln was a little bit nuts? They had a hard time getting her out of the White House after he died. Silly woman!

    • I didn’t know that, poor woman, her not you 🙂

      • I was really glad they didn’t actually skirt her mental problems. She was a trial poor old Abe really didn’t need, I think. Her constant remonstrations must have driven him bonkers! Then again, according to the book I’m reading, he had his own problems with melancholy, which was touched on this film too.

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