It's always hard for me to remain unbiased when I see Steven Spielberg's name attached to a movie. He might just be my favorite director. That being said I have disliked some of his movies but the wide majority have been good to great. He can go from action/adventure serial to science fiction, gritty war torn battlefields and in Lincoln he does a fantastic dramatic period piece.
Lincoln doesn't really cover the bases you'd think a movie about Abraham Lincoln would. Spielberg's "Lincoln" is about the Civil AND about Slavery but instead of the war movie we've seen oh so many times, or the "Lincoln Assassination" movie we've seen so many times we are brought a movie about politics and policy, and what Lincoln had to do in order to pass the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in the United States.
I suppose it goes without saying that Daniel Day-Lewis is perhaps the best actor of our generation but he once again lives up to the hype and the expectations. His Lincoln is FLAWLESS and to me the definitive portrayal of our 16th President. Lincoln is thought of as this mythical figure, a larger-than-life personality and as a result we get this loud and booming heroic interpretations with a voice to match, but everything I've ever read about the man suggested he was somewhat quiet and very humble and had the voice to match those qualities. DDL exemplifies these qualities in his take on Lincoln. The voice does not command greatness but rather brings us back down to Earth, Abraham Lincoln was a man who did great things, but he was just a man.
Throughout this movie we are show how much we have changed as a country and hilariously enough, how we haven't changed all that much since the time of Lincoln. The scenes depicting the legislative process had me wondering if I was actually watching C-Span instead of a Civil War era drama. Spielberg shows us touching moments with DDL's Lincoln that show us that Abe was just a down to Earth guy, he is a highly intelligent man, cunning in his political savvy, yet he tells awkward jokes that don't really land, he plays with his youngest son, and has arguments with his wife. For the first time I feel like we've been given a picture of Lincoln as close as we will ever get to the real thing.
I would be remiss entirely if I didn't give props to Tommy Lee Jones who comes insanely close to stealing the whole picture away from Day-Lewis. Jones plays Thaddeus Stevens a stalwart Republican who is the perhaps the one person behind this amendment more than anyone else. Jones has the best comedic lines in the film, gives some fantastic speeches when speaking out against slavery, and also has one of the most emotional scenes in the entire film.
The film looks gorgeous and really planted you in that time frame. Somehow the Civil War era has always been done well when it comes to set pieces and this movie was no different. And....yes.....they do tackle Lincoln's assassination but from a different perspective then we normally get.
The movie did feel like it lagged for the first 15 minutes or so as it was setting up future events, but once it got rolling it never stopped. Spielberg's "Lincoln" is a great historical film that is going to win quite a few awards and I would be shocked if Daniel Day-Lewis didn't add another Best Oscar Award to his mantle.