This was so much more than just a movie. What Steve Spielberg along with his all-star cast has accomplished is the first ever visual textbook. No more have I ever been so enthralled in a history lesson. In the movie “Lincoln,” they fill Abraham Lincoln and one of his most memorable moments as president with breath and life.
Daniel Day-Lewis, two time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, ceases to exist on screen, but instead is replaced by none other than Abraham Lincoln in the flesh. On several occasions I have to look off screen to remind myself I was sitting in a theater, not exchanging in clever parley with “Honest Abe.”
Another star who acted exceptionally well on screen is Tommy Lee Jones, a one-time Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor. He takes on the role of Thaddeus Stevens masterfully. Soon enough, Jones may be polishing off his second Best Supporting Actor trophy when all is said and done.
This movie is not outstanding based on acting merit alone.
Costume and set design are top notch and every aspect on screen meets in sync with the times and place of American in 1865.
Most importantly, the plot in the movie is factual and true to events. The real events of history shine in this movie unmarred by the influences Hollywood may have on some films claimed as “true events.”
Local expert Justin Nordstrom an Associate Professor of History at Penn State Hazleton, attests to this.
“The film focuses on 1865 – the last year of the Civil War and the passage of the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution that end slavery. Ironically, Lincoln is usually given credit as the ‘Great Emancipator’ for allegedly freeing the slaves years earlier in his Emancipation Proclamation. This film shows the inaccuracy of that view and correctly points out that the actual ending of slavery required a hotly-debated amendment and involved the fiery personalities of many members of Congress,” Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom believes this film accurately provides a glimpse into a side of Lincoln that many textbooks fail to show.
“I would recommend this movie to my students, especially given Lewis’ portrayal. He researched 19th-century newspaper reports of Lincoln’s high-pitched, screechy voice, which came as a surprise. It also shows Lincoln’s personal and family life. Although the movie only covers the last year of the Civil War (1865) and ends with Lincoln’s assassination, it does a great job of capturing the dynamic tensions involved in this pivotal year.”
“Lincoln” is a first-rate drama for anyone to watch, not just crazy civil war re-enactors or history buffs. It has a little something for everyone.
Nordstrom added, “Even someone that has no interest in history (sadly, there are such people) would love Lincoln. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal is excellent and Tommy Lee Jones is, too. Just from a cinematic and theatrical perspective, this is a great movie.”
Nordstrom concluded, “My money is on Lewis winning the Oscar for Best Actor next spring.”
I tend to agree with him.
Immerse yourself in the past and watch “Lincoln;” a movie Nordstrom and I give five stars.