Thursday, December 06, 2012

Review - Lincoln (2012)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Steven Spielberg brings to life a very touchy period in American history. He recounts the final months of the 16th President Abraham Lincoln in office as he seeks to pass the 13th Amendment to the United States constitution that would abolish slavery. He also seeks to unite the country and bring to end an ongoing four-year civil war between the Union States and the Confederate States.

Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a man who believes in equality for all. However he faces immense pressure from the House of Representatives and also fellow Republicans on ending the ongoing civil war that has resulted in numerous loss of lives and a divided country. As you know, the Southern Confederate states favor the continuation of slavery while the Northern states do not. President Lincoln fears that if the war concludes before the amendment is passed, the House of Reps will disregard it. So throughout the film, we see a determined Lincoln along with a few Republican operatives aim to secure Democratic votes for the passing.

Liam Neeson was originally cast to play Abraham Lincoln but he left the role due to aging. Daniel Day-Lewis took over the role and showed us again why he is one of the best actors of our generation. He was completely submerged in his role and was very convincing. Dude even walked like Lincoln. He led the way in this film but his fellow cast members was just as impressive alongside him. Sally Field played his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and she had a commanding role in his life and in this movie. Lest we forget, the main voice in Parliament, Mr Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones). He was also very commanding and also played the film's somewhat comic relief. The parliament scenes involving him were entertaining.

Stephen Spielberg's direction should be commended and he should get strong consideration for Best Director at the 2013 Oscars. Lincoln boasts a strong and fantastic screenplay, and the politically rich dialogue might pose a problem for some audiences but is still pretty straightforward and not so hard to follow. The film's main focus is the 13th Amendment but we didn't lose sight of the civil war and other notable elements of that period. The narrative was impressive and the buildup to the Amendment vote hearing was tense as we see various challenges and decisions arise for President Lincoln. At the end, that climatic voting scene was pretty satisfying, powerful and will evoke emotions. I really admired how Spielberg didn't make this film only about Lincoln's life/death but mainly about how one man stood to unite a country and make it better despite his challenges. The makeup, the costumes, the film's cinematography and the characters close resemblance to the actual persons are also commendable.

However, there was only one issue I had with this movie. I just felt that after the voting scene, the pacing fell off so the rest of the movie felt rushed to the end; even though it did include other important aspects of that period. Overall I wouldn't call Lincoln a detailed biopic, it was more of a powerful history lesson and a look at Abraham Lincoln's legacy in fine fashion and it worked.

Oh and we definitely know who won the battle of the Lincoln films this year.

Rating: 9.5/10

Lincoln's cast compared to the actual figures


  1. Good review Shawna. Look at those photos, amazing casting!!

    1. i know right! I found this picture and was really impressed

  2. Daniel Day definitely deserves an Oscar nomination for this because the guy is so good that it’s not even funny. Also, the rest of the cast is pretty great, too, especially Tommy Lee Jones who may be looking at another Oscar-win this year. I don’t know, though. Nice review Shawna.