It was a warm September day and the studio lot was calm before the storm of politics sure to follow. Soon there would be debates, arguments, threats, and all that goes with a country torn apart at the seams. We sat in plush, comfortable chairs, and we braced ourselves for the making of history.
Five minutes into Lincoln and I had all but handed Oscars to Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field (I really do like her), Tommy Lee Jones, and Steven Spielberg. Yes, Lincoln is that good.
The story is historically accurate (no vampires) and does not treat President Lincoln with kid gloves—rather, he is portrayed by Day-Lewis as incredibly passionate, decidedly distant, and aggressively shrewd for all the right reasons. Also, his voice is a full octave higher than Disneyland would have us believe.
The movie is beautiful. The dialogue is crisp and cutting. The cast, including powerful performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Spader, is amazing. The tension created in the theater is thick and strong, especially when you consider that everyone already knows the ending. The history is alive, and it is riveting.
Lincoln is not a family film, although actual families may vary; however, it is a film that relates heavily with the target demographic of this site: fathers. It is easy to remember Abraham Lincoln for his deeds and his speeches, but what doesn’t make textbooks and the head side of pennies, is that he was also a man dealing with the trials and fears of fatherhood even as he dealt with those of a nation.
Lincoln and his wife (Field) had lost two sons, each at an early age (only one of the four Lincoln boys lived past the age of 18), and as such they fought with their oldest (Gordon-Levitt) regarding his desire to fight in the war, and they treated their youngest (Gulliver McGrath) with a balance of affection and absence that must have been influenced heavily by duty and melancholy.
Much has been made of Lincoln and the way that the trials of the past correlate greatly with the tribulations of the present, and that is fair and accurate. However, it is my opinion that many of the more captivating scenes in the movie center on Lincoln the father and Lincoln the husband, not Lincoln the president, and as such they punch the collective gut of the audience accordingly.
Lincoln is remembered as a uniter. Lincoln will be remembered as amazing.