Sunday, December 16, 2012
Honestly, I am not a huge fan of history. While I do believe it is important and others should know about it, I don't understand why I need to know about it. Just think how many hours of my life were spent studying random historical facts. This travesty went on from kindergarten to college! Thank God that I am done with that! For you history buffs out there, although I don't get you people, I commend you for caring about history and recording it (so that I never have to). I say all that to prepare you for my expectations, which revolve around Lincoln being a story about a HISTORICAL figure. As I child, was I excited when the history teacher brought the TV into the class room? Absolutely! Would I have been willing to give him $8 for that experience? Probably not. So, while I was scared that Lincoln would be overly historical and a bit boring, the hype was enough to suck me into the theater.
Can you really criticize the plot of a movie that is based on a true story? Not so much. So, instead, I will criticize Stephen Spielberg's portrayal of the story. Fortunately for Spielberg, I was pleasantly surprised, and I really, really enjoyed this version of the Lincoln story. While there were some dramatic moments, it was never over the top, and Spielberg did a great job of making Lincoln stand out without the drama. I cannot, however, answer the "Was it historically correct?" question. My expertise, if you didn't figure this out already, does not lie in Civil War history, but it looked true to me! Just like Star Wars!
As we have all heard, Daniel Day-Lewis should be given every award ever given for every role he has ever played. I remember last year when they announced that he got the role, and everyone was already prepared to declare him the best actor winner. I really wanted that to blow up in everyone's face. Unfortunately, I agree that he definitely gave one of the best performances of the year. Also, I had no clue how many other fantastic actors were involved with the film, which can be dangerous but was executed well.
While Joseph Gordon-Levitt has often fallen on the positive side of my character critique, I was very disappointed with his performance in Lincoln. I don't know why, but he just didn't fit in the era. Also, he didn't look very invested in his character of Robert Lincoln (Abe's son). Also, David Strathairn, who I usually love, didn't really fit in the era either. William Seward, his character, played a huge role in the film, and I just didn't think he fit.
Aside from those aforementioned, the cast was absolutely fantastic. There is no way that I can talk about every character, so I will just hit the highest of the high points. Firstly, and most importantly, I will focus on the big man--Abraham Lincoln! Daniel Day-Lewis was terrific, and the character was brilliantly created by Spielberg, who made me regret my initial desire for him to fail at making this movie. Usually, historic stuff just bores me to death, but Spielberg's Lincoln was able to keep my focus very easily. People are loving them some Daniel Day-Lewis, but they also have fallen hard for 300 year old Tommy Lee Jones, who was great in his role. However, I was even more impressed with Sally Field's turn as Mary Todd, which was absolutely brilliant. Kudos to the make up folks, who made her fit the part, considering she is in the 300 year range with Tommy Lee Jones. Lastly, James Spader's W.N. Bilbo was terrific as well. I'm usually not a huge fan of his, but he did a great job, so I figured I should mention it.
Well, to be honest, I loved learning more about this historic time in our nation's history. Hopefully, the movie was fairly accurate in its portrayal of Lincoln and the events of the time, but, as I said, I cannot be a reliable voice in that respect. If it wasn't the truth, then please don't tell me. I want to think that it all happened in that dramatic fashion! As far as being a film, Lincoln was just as entertaining as informative. Often, I'm not a fan of movies that are super Oscar-friendly, like Lincoln. Often, I'm not a fan of history. Often, I'm not a fan of casts featuring dozens of characters and stars. Rarely does a movie come along that is able to take each of these elements and nearly perfect them all. Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Abraham Lincoln did just that, and I absolutely loved it. I give Lincoln 3.89 out of 5 stars.