Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
When you combine a great American icon and a passionate cause, with one of the greatest actors and directors of our age what you get is a film like Lincoln. It is a movie made more endearing by Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. Would it have been superb without him? Probably. Is it legendary with him? Absolutely. There is no doubt that the film to see this holiday is Lincoln.
This takes a snapshot from the Civil War era when honest Abe (Daniel Day-Lewis) was battling his own cabinet to try and get the 13th Amendment passed. It is a bold and heart moving portrayal of the man and his soft demeanor in the face of a volatile America. It seldom gets distracted with other motives but instead keeps the camera lens squarely on the President and the passing of this bill. This may disappoint those looking for a bloody war picture or a North South confrontation. But this one offers far more depth.
The supporting cast is magnificent and each delivers a performance that is perfectly compatible with the other. Sally Field gives us the role we have been waiting years for her to give. As Abe's wife Mary Todd she is a woman dealing with the loss of a child and a husband who is unwilling to bend when it comes to the war and his agenda. Much of the film deals with the two opposing political sides. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens is certainly in line for an award nomination. He is surrounded by names too many to mention here. The entire list of credits is worth mentioning in one way or another.
But there is no denying that the success of this film is in the hands of Day-Lewis. He has this ability to morph into any role he plays. This is evident in the many awards he has received for past projects. The man literally engulfs himself into a character to the point you can't tell where he ends and the other begins. In this one it is as if Lincoln stepped out of time, possessed Daniel, and took over the film. The strong yet soft spoken hero of the people moves about with a familiar gate and puts everyone at ease. His storytelling and likeability makes this Lincoln a screen gem.
Lincoln is rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language. As mentioned the film is not about the war, but there are a couple of brief depictions of what is happening outside the cabinet walls. The language is strong throughout, and if anything is to worry movie goers, it is the expletives used throughout. It is always in the context of heated arguments among the opposing players. Yet still there none the less.
This is a powerful film and director Spielberg (yes that Spielberg) does a perfect job of showing the man and the cause. This was a tumultuous time for our country and though many films have covered the war few have gone inside the political arena. And none like this one. I give it a 5 out of 5 anecdotes. It is that perfect.