So. I’ve been on a little bit of an Oscar movies marathon, but this is the first nominated for ‘Best Picture’ that I immediately had a clear opinion on. Plot-wise, there is little to say about Lincoln. The story director Steven Spielberg decides to tell is one that changed the course of history in the United States and the world.
The film focuses on the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life and his fight to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the House of Representatives. At the same time, of course, the Civil War is going on and the pressure is on the President to find a way to make peace with the Confederates.
To be honest, it started off a tad slow and is (visually) very dark, but Daniel Day-Lewis’ haunting take on President Lincoln is the hook… and, that’s right, we are the fish. Instead of portraying Abraham Lincoln as the ineffable hero of this remarkable, inspiring story, Day-Lewis gives us a human being with flaws, a personal history and inner thoughts.
Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd (played by Sally Field) is mourning the loss of her son, while fearing for the two that are still living. Together, they share one of the most poignant and emotional scenes of the film, where the President reveals he too is mourning and everyday wishes to bury himself with the son that he lost.
Tommy Lee Jones does an admirable job as Thaddeus Stevens, but pales in comparison to the film’s protagonist. In fact, I would’ve been content to follow Lincoln every step of the way, instead of shifting to secondary characters every now and then.
Daniel Day-Lewis truly embraced the mannerisms, gait, voice and story of Abraham Lincoln. Even if we only catch a glimpse of his life in the film, it seems like the man on the screen has lived many years and knows many stories. Day-Lewis came out on top in the Golden Globes (in the category ‘Best Actor in a Drama’) and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the Oscar next month. I’m not sure how the movie will do in the ‘Best Picture’ category, but I highly recommend it.