One of the best historical drama films in a long time to come out of Hollywood about honest Abe! Of course this film has many things going for it but the most obvious one is Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of our most famous President, Abraham Lincoln! DDL absorbs the very being of Lincoln in his performance (or as close as we would believe Abe sounded and looked like). There are many great performances in this movie including Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Stevens. The production values transport us back to 1860's life in the White House with a country fallen apart at the seams. This film focuses on the passage of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery and it was no small feat! We all know how difficult it is for anything to change in congress and any new addition to the constitution would be well almost unheard of today! The production values, the acting, directing and the screenplay are all excellent examples of how Hollywood can get it right. This is history in the making on so many levels that it reminded me of how much I love movies!
It's really great. Daniel Day-Lewis is the best. Someone could film him sleeping for 3 hours and it would still be fascinating. He will definitely get another nomination and hopefully another win.
The entire cast ranges from pretty good to excellent. Lewis, Field, & Jones should all get nominations. James Spader kinda steals the show at different points throughout but isn't likely to garner any attention. It's Spielberg's best film in quite a while IMO. Depending on who you are it could only be the best since last year's Tintin(or War Horse), but for me I'd say its the best since Munich or if you wanna go back even further, Saving Private Ryan.
There is a scene at the end that I kinda feel they could've done without. It just felt slightly unnecessary to me. If the credits would've rolled after the scene directly before it then this could very well have been a 10 for me. All in all though it is still very very good and worth a watch for Spielberg and movie fans alike. And depending on how the rest of the potential Oscar contenders play out then this could be the film that receives the most nominations.
Just because of the sheer insanity of it I'm going to list all of the names of the cast... Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Hawkes, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Walton Goggins, Lukas Haas, Dane DeHaan, and another few familiar faces that you've probably seen in other movies or tv shows but don't know their names. That cast alone should be enough of a reason to see the movie never mind the fact that the movie itself is fantastic as well, but its certainly made all the more possible because of Spielberg(and his crew) and this mammoth cast that was put together. Just unbelievable!
I believe that the strong point for this movie is the acting. I'm almost positive Daniel Day-Lewis will win best actor at the golden globes and the oscars. But that doesn't mean that the rest of the film is bad. I like the directing, the writing, and the makeup. It's my favorite film of the year and Steven Speilberg at his best. I highly recommend this film
Wisely avoiding the usual biopic template, Spielberg focuses on a specific period in Lincoln's life and his attempts to pass a critical amendment to the US constitution. Indeed, many of Spielberg's directorial flourishes are absent here and even the score by Williams is understated. Spielberg seems happy to let his cast and the script do the work and rightly so as he has a great cast of supporting actors and a script worth dwelling on without distractions. Whilst a great performance is expected from Day Lewis, he continues to amaze with how he seemingly inhabits any role he plays. He IS Lincoln and even the cast seem in awe of him and the character he plays. What is also surprising given how serious the subject matter is, is how much humour there is within the script. If there is a flaw, it is in the final moments of the film. The inclusion of Lincoln's assassination would be expected going into this film, but when it arrives, it seems tacked on and unnecessary, given the focus on the constitutional amendment. Perhaps it is a mark of how good the film is and what a significant piece of history it covers that it would have been far better to leave the audience remembering Lincoln's achievement rather than his death. Otherwise a great film!
I knew that I would have to see Lincoln because it stars Daniel Day-Lewis, but I was wary of the subject matter. Most historical epics leave me cold, and I find that I have little interest in politics of any kind. The prospect of watching two-and-a-half hours of (mostly) men dressed in 1860s garb, and depictions of the Civil War, did not exactly appeal. I had similar misgivings about The Iron Lady (a far inferior film), but wanted to watch the best actress of her generation, Meryl Streep.
Fortunately for me, with the exception of the opening battle scene, Spielberg chose to do something rather different.
I remember a conversation with Quentin Tarantino, in which he was asked the question whether he would ever direct the biography of someone like Elvis Presley. Tarantino replied that he couldn't imagine covering Presley's whole life, but it might be interesting to write a story depicting the day he signed with Sun Records. Spielberg has chosen a similar strategy for Lincoln. Instead of being shown Lincoln's entire life, Spielberg focuses on the vote to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, to abolish slavery.
This sharp focus worked well in another political drama, Frost/Nixon, in which David Frost tries to extract an apology from Nixon for the crimes he committed while in power.
Lincoln believes in the Thirteenth Amendment, and that the Civil War might be ended if he can get the bill passed. The film shows the methods Lincoln and his subordinates use to secure the required number of votes. He calculates that, in addition to the Republican votes, he will need 20 from other sources. We see what motivates some of the men who might be persuaded to vote in favor of the bill.
On a deeper level, the film is inevitably a character study. We see how Lincoln listens to men from every walk of life and makes them feel valued. He earns their respect, loyalty, and even their love. On a more personal level, he has problems within his own family. Lincoln has to face his wife, Mary (Sally Field), as she questions some of his actions. One of the biggest dilemmas is whether Lincoln should allow his son, Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), to fight in the Civil War.
Other key characters include Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), who has motivations of his own regarding the bill, and William Seward (David Strathairn), Lincoln's Secretary of State.
This is an all-star cast, and the acting is superb across the board. Day-Lewis is arguably the finest male actor of the current century, and this performance only adds to his legend. As always, he inhabits the character, never sounding just like himself. Compare this latest performance to his Oscar-winning role in There Will Be Blood, and you'll see what I mean. Lincoln speaks softly for the most part, but he captivates his audience. He tells a number of amusing anecdotes and the audience in my theater loved most of them.
Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones could also receive nominations in the supporting categories. If you remove those three actors, the cast would still be stronger than that seen in most movies.
While Lincoln isn't the ideal type of film for me, I respect what it achieves. The technical work matches the excellent acting. If I had a greater interest in history, or politics, I would probably have liked Lincoln even more. I could imagine American audiences being fascinated by the subject. This will be one of the leading contenders for Oscar nominations.
Possible glitch in the matrix: D-Day from Animal House (McGill) appears alongside D. Day-Lewis.