My only question is whether or not this film actually got through to that many people, considering the complexity of law, the Constitution, separation of state and federal powers, war powers, and so forth. In order to fully benefit from the film, you'd probably have to do some homework yourself before seeing it, taking a look at the Confiscation Acts, the impermanence of the Emancipation Proclamation executive order, the vagueness of war measure powers and what exactly Lincoln could and could not get away with. Also one might want to look into the fact that Lincoln was not loved by all the people, contrary to Mary Todd's projected opinion. Many found him ignorant, stupid even, unholy, a dictator, and said things about him that would even make Donald Trump blush. Of course so many years later we use 20/20 hindsight, but little was for sure, as was NOT even the chance that the 13th Amendment would pass, as it was so boldly denied 10 months previous.
So just how much "opinion" can be trusted of those reviewing the film, not sure, but being a critical thinking professor, I know how inaccurate and incomplete many think by nature. Regardless, I'd have to say that many of the facts in the film were historically accurate and up to snuff, outside of the glorification of Lincoln. A solid effort by Spielberg and crew, indeed.
Lincoln is based on Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a biography of his life. The movie, however only focuses, on his efforts to push the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment up to his death. The film also focuses on his skills with people and his knack for telling jokes and stories to get his views and points across.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Lincoln masterfully, completely immersing the audience with his accent and subtle physical mannerisms. No one knows for sure what Lincoln sounded like or how he acted, but Daniel Day-Lewis shows us that we can try to understand. His performance brings to mind his previous role as a historical figure in America as the fictional oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in 2007‚≤s There Will Be Blood. One can‚(TM)t help but notice the odd similarities between the two movies. Both are biographical dramas almost three hours in length, and cover a significant period in American history. The two characters are drastically different however, as Daniel Plainview becomes a twisted murderer by the end of There Will Be Blood, while Abraham Lincoln continues to be hailed a hero and a political genius.
The rest of the cast serves to challenge Lincoln and his decisions politically and personally. Sally Field (Mrs. Gump in Forrest Gump, Norma Rae in Norma Rae) plays Mary Todd Lincoln, desperately battling Lincoln for allowing their conflicted son Robert, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to fight in the war. The movie serves to illuminate all Lincoln had to deal with while fearlessly pushing the amendment forward, never wavering in his unflinching belief that the war should end and that everyone is equal. The serious subject matter, however, doesn‚(TM)t get in the way of the humor, mainly supplied by the snarky Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) and the sleazy W.N. Bilbo (James Spader).
Lincoln succeeds not only due to the amazing performances, but also from director Stephen Spielberg‚(TM)s enticing style of presenting suspense and drama. As the judge counts each vote that could end slavery in America, the audience knows the outcome, but can‚(TM)t help but feel the tension as each ballot is read. Most of the movie is spent as a buildup to that moment, which comes as a relief when the amendment is voted in. The event was over a century ago, but its impact, and the genius behind it, is masterfully brought to life on the big screen in this thrilling and poignant look at the 16th president‚(TM)s final months in office.
Steven Spielberg never dissapoints.