It could be said that everyone knows the legend that is Lincoln but not so much the man himself. It could also be said a movie driven by politics would be one of the last thing we would ever want to see. Given director Steven Spielberg track record don't go expecting anything from his usual escapism for he has proven numerous times he can make gold with almost any kind of film.
Set in 1865 when the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with the continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. Let it be known quickly this is a movie driven by dialogue which for some reason some seem to complain about. These people might have forgotten some of the most significant movies like "Reservoir Dogs", "12 Angry Men", and "Casablanca" relied heavily dialogue. With that out of the way the dialogue is all around terrific. It contains some funny political banter without feeling out of place. The conversations are all around interesting. Whether it be one of Lincoln's funny stories, telling his son not to go to war, or discussing how to pass the 13 Amendment are tightly written to not bore you to death. It gets the job done of showing what Lincoln had to go through to pass the 13 Amendment and why it was such a significant event in history.
The negatives about the plot are very obvious for the plot doesn't do a good job hiding the weaker aspects. For starter history buffs or anyone with the knowledge about these events know the final outcome. It fails to humanize Lincoln to make him a relatable common man. The final thirty minutes in particular goes against the film goal of painting Lincoln in a realistic manner. Lincoln also spends more time on politics than he does with his family that serve little purpose to the plot. The writer could have taken out Robert Lincoln character and nothing significantly would have been different. Seeing how the 13 Amendment is involve why is there not a single major black character? It did away with slavery so it seems odd that not one was written. That makes about as much sense as "Django Unchained" having no important black characters. It also doesn't feel cinematic and at times it feels like something that would have benefited from being television mini-series to explore Lincoln's life and have more freedom with the material.
I'm going to save some time and not talk about the acting. I don't need to convince anyone that a movie that stars Daniel Day-Lewis has great acting. It pretty much a given by now that Daniel Day-Lewis does immense research on his role and looses himself to his character. So if dialogue driven movies are your things or want to avoid reading a history textbook go check it out.