Never has a movie based entirely on old men chatting to one another kept me so enthralled.
‘Lincoln’ plays like an incredibly detailed, yet interesting history book. Despite some classically cheesy Spielberg moments, the film is informative and engaging.
What I mean by cheesy Spielberg moments: there are a few too many close-up shots of teary-eyed old men, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score for my taste.
But hey, it was an epic period in history, I guess, so I’ll let these slightly over-the-top musical missteps slide.
Spielberg took a historical character I thought I knew very well and shaped his life into a distinctly thrilling historical narrative.
The push to get the Emancipation Proclamation passed through Congress was far more gritty and exciting than many people realize. Spielberg does an excellent job of illustrating that drama.
Another strength of this film was the cast. Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln was not just believable, but utterly scintillating.
“D-Day Lewis” is among the elite in terms of acting, and he proved that he is worthy of this acclaim once again in this film.
The rest of the cast is also nothing to sneeze at. Tommy Lee Jones plays a cantankerous old man named Thaddeus Stevens, one of the key players in Lincoln’s push to get the 13th Amendment passed (the one that abolished slavery, but of course you knew that).
David Spader plays a very amiable political sleazeball, charged with assisting President Lincoln in any way possible (ethical or not) in his hunt for votes. Spader’s was my favorite of the minor characters.
This film is also timely for another reason. In addition to being a great American holiday film that occupied some of my family time during the lull that often follows Turkey Day, it has some serious parallels to contemporary politics.
No matter your political disposition, it is hard not to see some similarities between Lincoln’s struggle to get the 13th amendment passed and Obama’s struggle to get votes for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The film certainly makes you wonder if this competitive and suave style of politics is still what goes on behind closed doors in Washington. I, for one, would like to think so.
Hey, sometimes a little context makes the world go ‘round. But this film is a must-see, whether you like to think about the larger political picture or not.
Get out there and get watching.