Opening in theatres from director Steven Spielberg, Dreamworks Pictures and 20th Century Fox comes a stunning view of the past according to LINCOLN.
This film tells the story of President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) during the time of the Civil War. As it rages on the President knows decisions have to be made to bring the country back together from its slavery driven divide.
Working with William Seward (David Strathairn), they hire W.N. Bilbo (James Spader) and Robert Latham (John Hawks) to begin working with Congress to end slavery and in doing so end the war. They go up against the likes of Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) and Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook) in the struggle.
But the President also has his personal life that is in turmoil with his wife Mary (Sally Field) as they grieve the loss of a young son. Older son Robert (Joseph Gordon Levitt) who wants to fight in the war while younger son Tad (Gulliver McGrath) believes in his father.
It is a war that rages inside and out for this President who was strategic, deliberate and mindful of what, in the end, this would cost all Americans.
FINAL WORD: Before I speak on each of the actors in the film that are quite impressive I must say this one thing. When I was young my family went to Disneyland and our first stop was to see Lincoln speak. I sat with other people in a dark room and when the lights came up a beautiful red curtain opened up and there stood Abraham Lincoln.
With the amazing and stunning animatronics, I was able to hear Lincoln give his speech beginning with “four score and seven years ago…” I was truly mesmerized, riveted and moved because even as a child I knew I was experiencing our historical past in the present. I believed I would never be moved like that again.
I was wrong – Daniel Day Lewis rekindled that same emotion with how I thought Lincoln would be. The sadness on his face mixed with thoughtfulness and a heavy heart toward the fate of our nation. Just the tone of his voice and mannerisms are so deep and hard on the heart of the viewer. Just an amazing performance!
Field as Mary plays the part well determined to stand by her husband but dealing with a grief that just consumes her. Levitt as older son Robert has a small role but a poignant one as father-son disagree on what is best and, for a moment, the audience sees Lincoln as a father and not a President.
Young McGrath is delightful as the inquisitive son Tad. He knows what is right and believes his father will see it through. Spader and Hawks are an interesting pair playing off each other, I truly enjoyed their performance.
Strathairn as Seward is such a solid actor and in this film he continues that tradition. It was amazing to see Holbrook bring his amazing career to the screen in another memorable performance to an already stellar resume.
Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens turns in another stand out performance in the film. It is such a quirky character in many ways yet behind those eyes is a character that knows what must be done – and Jones does it from beginning to end – literally.
Other cast include: Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, Bruce McGill as Edwin Stanton, Tim Blake Nelson as Richard Schell, Joseph Cross as John Hay, Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant, Lee Pace as Fernando Wood, Peter McRobbie as George Pendelton, Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley, Walton Goggins as Clay Hutchins and David Oyelowo as Corporal Ira Clark.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give LINCOLN four tubs of popcorn out of five. As a big fan of period pieces I would, as should everyone, expect something amazing from this film and Spielberg delivers. It is not only a period piece, but also a part of American history that deserves to be shown with the good, bad and ugly truths.
The costuming is amazing from the President’s clothes, Mary Todd’s dresses and the uniforms, etc. Not only does it lend itself to the realism of the film but also it goes deep into the heart of the past. The score thumps hard when it needs to and forgiving when it must to let the audience catch its breath.
Spielberg has assembled a cast of actors that has taken up the task of portraying a time of such heartbreak and hardheadedness. Each one should be proud of what they have accomplished with this film.
In the end – the fate of human dignity was in his hands.