The Better Angels (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Better Angels (2014)



Critic Consensus: Malick-inspired but not as inspired as Malick, The Better Angels muffles an interesting idea under ponderous execution.

The Better Angels Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Indiana, 1817. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women, and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. This is young Abraham Lincoln's world. Spanning three years of the future president's childhood, The Better Angels explores his family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality. Written and directed by A.J. Edwards, The Better Angels delves into visual and narrative poetry to express the Lincolns' world. The stark wilderness they inhabit comes alive in stunning black-and-white cinematography, and the story follows the lyrical course of the characters, who struggle physically and emotionally. They are forced to take on new additions to the family, learning what acceptance and empathy really mean. With an elegant touch and extreme attention to historical accuracy, Edwards shows the austerity of the era and reveals what shaped one of history's most distinctive leaders. (c) Amplify Releasingmore
Rating: PG (for thematic elements and brief smoking)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: A.J. Edwards
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 3, 2015
Amplify - Official Site


Brit Marling
as Nancy Lincoln
Diane Kruger
as Sarah Lincoln
Jason Clarke
as Tom Lincoln
Wes Bentley
as Mr. Crawford
Bruce Bayard
as Uncle Samuel
Veanne Cox
as Aunt Elizabeth
Robert Vincent Smith
as Reverend Elkins
Ida Joy
as Young Schoolgirl
Joe Webber
as Charles
Gary Sundown
as Johnny Kongapod
Joe McKenna
as Stranger
Gina Bevilacqua
as The Lawyer
Ralph Cashen
as Bounty Hunter
Hamilton Clancy
as Field Hand
Lola Cook
as Frail Child
Tim Duquette
as The Messenger
Reagan Leonard
as Sarah's Friend
Phillip X. Levine
as Bounty Hunter
Heidi Philipsen
as Welcoming Neighbor
Wayne Pyle
as Parishioner
Casey Roberts
as Neighbor Child / Boy...
Christopher Tighe
as Lincoln's Neighbor
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Better Angels

Critic Reviews for The Better Angels

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (18)

It feels more like a poem. Or, at times, a symphony. But it's much less effective as an actual movie.

Full Review… | November 21, 2014
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

"God tells truths in parables," someone says - a line that Edwards most likely aspires to take possession of, as if his poetic, pictorial parable had its own truths to tell.

Full Review… | November 21, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The narrative is gentle and sparse. The beautifully photographed imagery, shot in elegant, deep-focus black-and-white, is exceptional. The music is richly classical.

Full Review… | November 20, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A gorgeous look at the raw, wooded Indiana of the early 1800s and a dreamy study of the boy Lincoln who was destined to leave it behind.

Full Review… | November 14, 2014
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

History, as subject matter, is hard enough to sell as cinema. The Better Angels will not make the struggle any easier.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Had Terrence Malick taken a shot at making a Ken Burns movie, it would probably have turned out better than "The Better Angels," A.J. Edwards's humorless, pretentious black-and-white tone poem about a very young Abe Lincoln.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Better Angels

Edwards doesn't even try to hide the obvious and unoriginal way that he emulates Malick's style, and he seems more concerned with creating a powerful meditative experience than offering any real insight into what shaped Lincoln in his childhood to become the man he would be.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

A spare, bucolic "Tree of Life"-style boyhood of Lincoln which aims at a strange power but is normal.

The Better Angels Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Better Angels on our Movie forum!