Sunday, February 24, 2013


Year: 2012
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Lee Pace, Jared Harris, Gloria Reuben, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill

Plot: An account of the last four months of Abraham Lincoln's life as he works toward abolishing slavery by passing the 13th Amendment as well as ending the Civil War.

Review: Lincoln isn't an easy film to absorb if you're someone who isn't familiar with American history. Not being American, it was hard for me at times to follow Abe Lincoln as he set the wheels in motion towards ending slavery in his country while making sure everyone was on board with him in achieving that goal.

Steven Spielberg presents his film not as a biopic on Lincoln's life, but the important events in his final days as President, which from the looks of it, are the most crucial points of his life. The film depicts how Lincoln gets his cabinet to procure the votes required in the House of Representatives to pass the amendment that will lead to freedom for coloured folk in the United States. To do so, a handful of unpopular tactics were undertaken, and it's quite fascinating to watch it being done. Who would have thought Lincoln was capable of this?

Ultimately, the main attraction of this film is the cast, with Daniel Day-Lewis delivering an Oscar worthy performance as Lincoln. Looking and perhaps sounding like the man is one thing, but Daniel makes every second of his screen presence count, depicting humility, vulnerability and wisdom in dealing with everyone he encounters, while being firm and sure at all times. He is well supported by Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, who plays off him well as his wife who supports his endeavours but doesn't always agree with the man. Tommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn are also great as Thaddeus Stevens and William Seward respectively, the former as a staunch abolitionist (who's awesome with verbal insults) and the latter as the Secretary of State and Lincoln's biggest ally.

Some mention must also be made for the minor supporting cast who make their moments count, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Gloria Reuben, Jared Harris, Jackie Earle Haley...the list goes on. All of them contribute in some way, no matter how brief, to make this film as good as it is.

That being said, the film could use some tighter editing, especially in the last 10 minutes or so. But it's a small gripe for another hit from Spielberg.

In the end, you may have trouble following this if you lack understanding of American politics, but if you love great performances, then Lincoln delivers that in spades. (3.5/5)

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