Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field,
Director: Steven Spielberg
Daniel Day-Lewis takes on the role of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America in this film which has received 12 Academy Award nominations.
Choosing to zero in on the last few months of PotUS' life and set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, it's the story of how he decided he wanted to abolish slavery by passing the 13th Amendment in the US constitution. It's also the tale of the fractures between the Republicans and the Democrats as Lincoln looks to get this bill through - come what may.
Lincoln is like watching a history lesson brought vividly to life before your very eyes.
It's also one which, if you don't have more than a basic grasp of American history, could sail over your head. Occasionally, it's like a somewhat stuffy school lesson as it's quite dialogue heavy and will require you to pay attention over 150 minute running time. This sounds like a couple of criticisms being levelled at the film, and it's not directly; merely, just a warning that this veers more into the worthy but dull territory.
Thankfully, in among a sea of bearded and relatively
faceless US officials who swoop in and out of the film at on so
many occasions, it's one man's performance which stands head and
shoulders above everyone else. Thanks to mightily impressive make
up, a scholarly and erudite performance by a soft spoken Day Lewis,
you can't help but watch him as the political machinations and
extreme talk of deals plays out on the screen. But he also breathes
life into a character whose attitude to his rivals was not one of
scorn, but one of respecting their viewpoints - and by doing so, it
makes Lincoln more of a rounded man than a man doggedly pursuing
his own selfish political gains.
While retaining a lot of the backroom politics and information (and by letting it play out naturally as opposed to some quick fix deals), Spielberg's also wisely managed to humanise the man giving the audience outside of America (and outside of those who've studied Lincoln) a vital in road that's needed for the duration of the quite long film.
All in all, Lincoln (based on the book Team Of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin ) stands by the utterly wonderful character performance of Day Lewis, which anchors this moment in history which defined America - but it's a long road to that in the entire duration of the film. Expect it to a) leave you feeling a slight amount of inadequacy on your knowledge of American history and b) take home some accolades as the awards season begins.