Hooray for movies about the dead presidents of our past. I mean, Steven Spielberg is going for a hot ticket president in Lincoln, who just had another movie which you all might recall. Technically, both of them are biographies, I guess.
But hey, if anyone should do a good movie on the man, it is probably going to be Spielberg. Especially if they can get a person to look just like him. Which they succeeded quite insanely.
Look at how fucking Lincoln he is.
Well, if you wanted a full Lincoln backstory, too bad. This movie takes place entirely in the last five months of his life, from Dec 1864 to April 1865. For those Lincoln historians out there, you know that is way after his Gettysburg Address! Don’t worry, you still get to hear it, just not out of his own mouth.
Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) has recently been reelected as President, which he took as a sign saying that the people like what he is doing. They wan’t slavery to be illegal! So he pushes to have the 13th Amendement passed, just needs the House to vote on it. It would make slavery illegal, yet there is a lot of concern. Most of the republicans love it, the conservative Republicans are a bit weary though. Most of the Democrats are violently against it though. That will make the war last forever. No way will the South surrender then!
But a lot of them are losing their jobs. Maybe, just maybe, they will change their vote because of it? Especially if they can get some sweet government jobs…
Basically it is really fucking hard to get this shit passed. He may have even had to do things behind the back of his Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn). Like allowing one of the conservative Republicans set up a meeting with the South to end the war (Featuring Jackie Earle Haley as “VP” Alexander Stephens). He also has some men hired to help convince the democrats to change their vote (James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson) without bribes.
Our major Republican players are James Ashley (David Costabile) who brought forth the bill, and Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), a revolutionist who actually believes all men area created equal! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is his son returned from school, and Sally Fields is his wife, super distraught and crazy in the eyes of others.
I mean, honestly. You know the 13th Amendement passes, and you know what happens in April of 1965. But somehow that doesn’t matter, it is still a captivating tale.
Here is Lincoln on a horse motherfucker. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
I’ll say it again, Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Fucking Lincoln. Did you see that picture? Look at it long and hard, but that is so much Lincoln and so little Daniel Day-Lewis that I am actually scared. From his voice to his mannerisms, you will love the portrayal you see in this film. Basically everything I found captivating. My biggest smidgen of concern comes from the House of Reps. While watching it is like “Ooh, debating between Republicans and Democrats and Tommy Lee Jones in a time machine!”. He can’t help it, he is too famous. I had a had time picturing the actor outside of the character. I recognized a lot of the other faces, just not at Tommy Lee Jones levels.
Lincoln seems like a pretty kick ass guy to hang around with. One of the features they highlight is his love of telling stories, and they are just so well done. That is really all I can say. The movie is super well done.
Again, you know what happens, and its only five months in time, but it doesn’t seem to matter. If you hate Dramas with mostly just talking, you might not like this one. But I hope more Presidents get this treatment (albeit if they do less famous ones, maybe a longer bit of their life). I even like the questionable way they chose to end it, setting up a scene in a way I just didn’t imagine.
A lot of this could be dramatized for the film, but if it is, we need more dramatization. It makes life better.
4 out of 4.