History Comes Alive
With the American Civil War working its way to a conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) finds the clock is ticking down to ban slavery from the United States through an amendment to the constitution. He knows that once the war ends and the Southern States return he has no chance of getting the amendment passed yet at the same time he is torn by the number of men who will lose their lives if their is no early peace including the possibility of his own son.
Do you know what sucks about being a Brit born in the 70s? When it came to doing history at school they would teach about the Egyptians and about King Henry and his many wives but none of what I would call interesting history such as the World Wars or even the American Civil War. As such most of what I have learned about American history has come in more recent years and that is through research for movie reviews of historical movies. So with that said it should be hopefully apparent that my knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and what he achieved is not sufficient enough to say how historically accurate Spielberg's "Lincoln" is although with the attention to detail lavished on this movie I would hope it is.
Instead what I can say is that even if you are not into historic dramas "Lincoln" is a captivating movie with a storyline which is in truth remarkably easy to understand as we watch the then President not only deal with his inner conflict over achieving the amendment and ending the war but also getting the votes to pass the amendment. And yes for 150 minutes that is basically what we watch unfold, a political drama but one with an amazing look and at times a creepy sense of beauty.
Of course "Lincoln" is significant for the performances and not only has Spielberg put together a hugely impressive cast he has got the most important piece of casting spot on. Between Daniel Day-Lewis's captivating portrayal and the make up team for making him look like Lincoln you not only rest on every word he says but every look he gives. In many ways Day-Lewis's performance is magnificent for those scenes where he just gives a look, the look of knowing which makes it such an astounding performance as you wonder what he was actually thinking to get that look so perfect.
What this all boils down to is that "Lincoln" is a brilliant movie because it does what many historic movie claim to do but rarely achieve, it makes history come alive. And more importantly it does so in a way that even those not up on their history can follow things whilst those not into historic dramas can watch it.