“Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg’s latest film, has been in theaters for four weeks and still is top-five at the box office. That means people are watching.
The film is set in 1865. Abraham Lincoln has been re-elected to a second term even though the Civil War is raging for its fourth bloody year. With peace talks on the horizon, one issue haunts a visibly aging President Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis). The 13th amendment, which abolishes slavery, will not pass once the Southern states rejoin the union. Though the nation is desperate for peace, the window is closing for Lincoln to push the polarizing amendment through.
In a way, “Lincoln” is terribly timely, given our current president’s recent re-election and the looming fiscal cliff. Dun dun dun.
If you’re looking for a war movie, look elsewhere. The only shots of battle in “Lincoln” are included to help establish the story’s setting. I’d classify the film as a political thriller and biographical drama instead. That means the film will bore the wrong audience to tears.
However, I was not bored. Far from it. Day-Lewis paints a portrait of a steady, wise, passionate, down to earth, canny man, almost too full of parable stories.
There are other great actors galore in this film. David Strathairn is commendable as Secretary of State William Seward; he and Day-Lewis handily carry the film. Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens steals every scene he’s in. Oscar worthy? Yes.
Sally Field flexes her acting muscles as the first lady. While Field does terrific work, I thought her character was a little too self-aware. She was concerned with how she and her husband would be remembered in history. But then again, that would be a topic on a first lady’s mind.
Also, I was tickled pink to see my favorite actor, Mr. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s oldest son.
I’m a fan!
McBrayer’s column appears weekly in the Courier. Watch reviews at www.coastalcourier.com.