Lincoln--Directed by Steven Spielberg/Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field,Tommy Lee Jones (and many others)/screenplay written by Tony Kushner, in part from a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin/2hr30min/PG-13
Bifocal Reviews by Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(B) At times, this film played more like the History channel than a movie. It was very wordy and it covered only a short time in Lincoln’s presidential term. You could see the parallels in today’s government with it’s “tug of war” within Congress. Lincoln wanted to get the amendment to abolish slavery passed and Congress wanted to end the war first.
Lincoln fought hard and diligently to pass the amendment. Tommy Lee Jones was the scene- stealer as he played a craggy sharp-tongued abolitionist congressman. You will watch and recognize many character actors you have seen on different TV shows. I found myself saying, “I know that guy. Where have I seen him before?” Daniel Day-Lewis’ uncanny resemblance to Lincoln worked in his favor. My favorite parts of the film were Lincoln’s personal life and the powerful tenderness he showed. Sally Field’s portrayal of Mary Todd was a little over the top for me. The scenes in the White House were very dark and dreary. It gave the mood of depression, which may have been intended. This was not one of my favorite films. I can only bring myself to give this movie two and half binoculars.
(OG) We saw this film on premier day, but it has taken me this long to finally get around to having an opinion. When the movie was over, the first thing I noticed was, one person gave a single clap, but was quieted by the somber silence of the rest of the audience. It wasn’t that people hated the movie, but the all started to file out self-consciously, like they were in a mortuary at a funeral. No one knew how to react! The somber quality of the film and the audience’s reaction to it, stayed with me. As I look back now, I realize that this was about as good a biography about Lincoln as I can remember. Daniel Day-Lewis is usually too over-the-top for me, but he portrayed Lincoln perfectly, in a very personal and realistic manner. I expect another Oscar nod for him. Sally Field bothered Barbara, but I thought she performed well. I liked the acting, but Spielberg is getting a bit self-indulgently “artsy” for my taste. The lighting was dreary and dismal, even in the outside scenes. Light and shadow washes in through windows like it is the central show at times, surrounding and hiding the characters. There was one “dream” sequence that didn’t seem necessary to me. The film was just a little bit too long, boring and dreary for me to put it at the top of my repeat performance list. However, I have to recommend it to anyone who is interested in Lincoln or the fight to end slavery. There are lessons here for us all with the modern political climate. I give it three binoculars.