Atala - I'm a fan of historical movies - I feel they are a great way to spark one's interest in the events of another time while being entertained at the same time (although if you're really interested in history, you probably will want to do your own research to roughen up the smoothed-out Hollywood storylines). With this said, I was very keen on going to watch Lincoln, even though I understood that the film wasn't a full blown biography, but would just cover the first few months of 1865.
I glad to say that I came away learning about an interesting sliver of history that I hadn't been aware of before. In a nutshell, even though Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Act prohibiting slavery two years earlier, he still needed to get an amendment to the constitution ratified by the House of Congress so that slavery's illegality would be made permanent.
The film follows the political twists and turns as Lincoln works to get the amendment passed, and the opposition he encounters from various interest groups - ranging from hardline Democrats who are vehemently opposed to banning slavery to radical abolitionist Republicans those who think that the amendment does not even go far enough in banning slavery. It makes for fascinating political theatre, and it shows how even Lincoln and his cabinet members have to resort to all kinds of devious measures (including offer inducements to individual politicians) in order to get the amendment passed.
The film also tries to show Lincoln's human side - portraying the relationship between his wife (who dearly wishes the war would end so that her son would not have to fight in it) and his son (who does want to fight). But I felt that this was a sideshow that wasn't really needed in a film which was primarily about Lincoln the politician, not Lincoln the family man.
I also felt that Lincoln came across as too 'holy' - there were numerous scenes in the film when, instead of responding to a remark in a colloquial manner, he would go off into a flight of oratory. It felt kind of unreal - but perhaps that really was what Lincoln was like, so I shouldn't blame Daniel Day Lewis, who turned in a great performance as the 16th president of the United States.
In conclusion, I'll say the film was good - not a history-making kind of good, but good enough for 3 and a half stars from me.
Myne - The real Lincoln has always been an interesting character for me, and so I was interested to see this movie that showcased a sliver of his life and what made him a man of history. I am writing this review a day after watching another reflection of Lincoln in the History Channel's MANKIND, a history of all of us and I believe I have a fuller knowledge of the man behind the myth and inspirational stories and words.
The movie starts with Lincoln at the scene of a battle of the American civil war, he is meeting with surviving soldiers who hero worship him and quote the words of his Iconic democracy speech back at him. It is a perfect set up for the rest of the movie where he gives out more insightful nuggets, and shows also that he is a man with heart, and one who does not mind getting his hands dirty in the mud of politics.
In order not to spoil the movie, I won't say more than that it is a worthy movie. Daniel Day Lewis is great, and Spielberg also gets amazing acting from the others in the cast, including Tommy Lee Jones. I give the film four out of five stars, and expect that it will be referenced for years to come.