In our present day of social media, apps and instant gratification, it can be hard to impart the lessons of our U.S. history and the people that made our land great, in a way that has a memorable effect. Because of this, the motion picture industry can be a powerful tool in bringing stories and history that might not be learned otherwise, to the masses. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a perfect example of this.
Personally, I have always been a fan of history of any kind, and U.S. history was no exception. I loved reading about the development of our country, from colonial times to the pioneers to the creation of the National Parks. When you read about history however, it can be hard to get past the bullet point highlights of a particular time frame or a persona. Abraham Lincoln, known as “Honest Abe” has a reputation few can compare to. Honesty, doing the right thing, and frank candor are what he is known for. This peek into his presidency offers a much more raw and unfiltered look at what actually went on to achieve the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.
Despite Lincoln’s reputation as an honest and forthright president, the film shows that he did whatever it took to get the 13th Amendment passed, even employing some undesirables to get the signatures he needed. It was a fascinating look at the process and I found myself wanting to learn more about each name and person that appeared on screen. I wanted to know their story, their contribution to our nation, their place in history. I guess perhaps that is the best compliment I can give Lincoln, as a film – the fact that it made me want to go out and learn more.
The cinematography, costumes and overall feel of the film was just wonderful. I loved little details like panning across a planning room with Lincoln and his advisers, and how each gentleman in the room had their own little journal. Just seeing how authentic everything looked was like being able to step back in time to what running the country and living in the 1800’s was really like. I was also relieved that, although the loss of life in the seemingly endless battles of the Civil War is important to note, it wasn’t the focal point of the movie, and the blood and gore was kept to a minimum (but it is there in places). The way they handled Lincoln’s assassination was extremely well done and I was impressed as well.
The performances by one and all were simply flawless. Daniel Day Lewis seems to be born to play our 16th president, in almost an eerie way. Sally Field was amazing and powerful as Mary Todd Lincoln and each additional character lent something important to the screen. It was truly an ensemble cast and the writing made it enjoyable from start to finish. I loved the little stories Lincoln would tell and how his cronies would groan and get frustrated with him telling them. His jokes injected a much-needed levity to the subject matter and seeing the human side of him as a father and husband was a unique insight.
I loved the film and I cannot wait to see it again, own it when it comes out on DVD, and begin my quest to learn more about our country’s history. I recommend this to anyone and everyone, it should be required viewing to appreciate and honor the story of the United States; to learn and grow from our history.
Lincoln opens in theatres on Friday, Novermber 16. In preparation for the release of the film, you can now go behind-the-scenes of the movie with this exclusive interactive book “Lincoln: Discover the Story.” See how a crucial time in America’s history was recreated and brought to the screen with beautiful photos, art, interviews, music and more!
Available for now for FREE download for the iPad: http://bit.ly/QbEVRP