Film: Lincoln (2012)

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Film:

Lincoln

Director: Steven Spielberg
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Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office.

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Reviews

Amazon.com

As with the great John Ford (Young Mr. Lincoln) before him, it would be out of character for Steven Spielberg to construct a conventional, cradle-to-grave portrait of a historical figure. In drawing from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, the director instead depicts a career-defining moment in the career of Abraham Lincoln (an uncharacteristically restrained Daniel Day-Lewis). With the Civil War raging, and the death toll rising, the president focuses his energies on passage of the 13th Amendment. Even those sympathetic to the cause question his timing, but Lincoln doesn’t see the two issues as separate, and the situation turns personal when his son, Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), chooses to enlist rather than to study law. While still mourning the loss of one son, Mary (Sally Field) can’t bear to lose another. Playwright Tony Kushner, who adapted the screenplay, takes a page from the procedural handbook in tracing Lincoln’s steps to win over enough representatives to abolish slavery, while simultaneously bringing a larger-than-life leader down to a more manageable size. In his stooped-shoulder slouch and Columbo-like speech, Day-Lewis succeeds so admirably that the more outspoken characters, like congressman Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) and lobbyist W.N. Bilbo (James Spader), threaten to steal the spotlight whenever they enter the scene, but the levity of their performances provides respite from the complicated strategizing and carnage-strewn battlefields. If Lincoln doesn’t thrill like the Kushner-penned Munich, there’s never a dull moment—though it would take a second viewing to catch all the political nuances. —Kathleen C. Fennessy

Related Works

Book:Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged…[more]

Album:Lincoln: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Lincoln: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

John Williams

In a career spanning almost six decades, John Williams has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures. Winner of twenty-one Grammy® Awards, four Golden Globe® Awards and five Academy Awards®, Williams is easily the most recognized composer working in film today. He has a long association with Steven Spielberg, composing music for all but two of Spielberg’s feature films, most recently on the Academy Award®-nominated scores for The Adventures of Tintin and Warhorse.

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