Release Date: 21 February 2013
Running Time: 149 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Tony Kishner, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gulliver McGrath, Tommy Lee Jones
Plot: 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.
Based on Tony Kushner’s treatment on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”, this Steven Spielberg-directed historical drama is perhaps the director’s best movie effort since “Saving Private Ryan”. Similar to the novel, the movie adaptation of “Lincoln” solemnly tells the story of the final four months of Lincoln’s life including his effort to have the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by the House of Representatives. Months after his 1864 re-election, Lincoln steers the Civil War passes into its fourth year. The Union’s army progresses deep into the Confederacy states, glimpsing some hope that the war may be ending soon.
Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Lincoln holds an uphill task to abolish the slavery across the nation as he believes his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation will be discarded once the war ends. But the amendment comes with many oppositions and expected consequences that will throw the society and economy into confusion. Many believe that Lincoln should delay the amendment but he is adamant about having it passes before the war ends. Thus, begins the uphill task for Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward to secure the necessary votes for the amendment from both the Republican and Democratic benches.
“Lincoln” is a naturally inspiring feature that does not need the normal tear-jerking or desperate heartfelt attempts to rope the audience in, something so evidently seen in most of Spielberg’s past movies. Tony Kushner (Munich) writes a convincing and effective screenplay that goes only on a small chapter of the detailed history of Abraham Lincoln to generate the plot in this movie. But that plot is presented with strong, organized, detailed and accurate points, nailing the mood and mode of the era and the story as we know, appropriately. Under Spielberg's calm direction, this biopic manages to offer a rea
The film is neither a war-echoed nor a prejudiced stamping sentiment, which is a little downer here. The Civil War, even on its final days is not been emphasized beyond the news headline of the dailies. The crucial Gettysburg batle is reduced to the comm room as per se. Spielberg could have muster this into a larger scope biopic but instead twisting arms of political agenda all over. Although the shortcomings are apparently turning this into merely a tale of how Linxoln pushes for the passage of 13th Amendment,the movie is still captivating and functional. While the subject matter is less than appealing for us Malaysian, this is a take-it history subject that is equally intriguing.
This movie’s biggest success has to come from the stars. Daniel Day-Lewis, who not only nails the role but also embodies it perfectly, in another flawless performance to remember. There is no doubt that this looks will easily a lock for his fifth Oscar nominations for Day-Lewis. The resemblance of the actor’s facial line with any of the real pictures of Abraham Lincoln is strikingly similar. Through Day-Lewis, we see a self-spoken, patience and intelligence leader; culminating a tough leadership skill to oversee the divided nation with a balance of dead-serious gravitas and a playful tone, not sarcasm; every time he tells you a story.
Sally Field plays the role Mary Todd Lincoln with absolute hidden madness, still blaming the death of their son to Lincoln and barely holds it all together. Tommy Lee Jones’ supporting role as the Abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, redefines the veterans’ best days of performance with a refreshing strong charisma.
In the end, "Lincoln" is an inspiring and highly-orthodox retelling of the final months in the life of President Abraham Lincoln, transpires with high level performance of perfect-nailing by Day-Lewis and Lee Jones, a well-structured and eloquent emotionally-fueled plot to go along.