Lincoln Review: The Importance of the 13th Amendment

lincoln_movie_poster_daniel_day_lewis_steven_spielbergThere is no actor more respected than Daniel Day Lewis.  There are plenty of roles that looking back no one else could have done as well as he did.  When it was announced that he was the lead in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, anyone aware of his talent knew it would be an Oscar worthy performance and most likely a third victory.  Knowing that Lewis would give an irreplaceable performance it was really up to Spielberg to make sure it all came together.

Normally this is where I give a brief synopsis but I think everyone that has ever taken a U.S. history class should know the gist of.  It takes place over the final year or so of the Civil War as Abraham Lincoln leverages the 13th Amendment as a means to bring an end to the war.  Click here for the trailer.

My background on the life of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War is very elementary so I cannot say for certain how true to real events Lincoln is but I sure did learn a lot from it if it was.  I knew there was a great divide amount the all the government officials of the state but it was really interesting to see how the bargaining for votes would have occurred back then (again assuming it was true to history).  The other thing I really appreciated was the representation of the weaponry.  It was so much more preparation to reload a gun and you had two really good instances of this in the film.  First was in the beginning with the glimpses of the end of a battle and men piling up from getting impaled with bayonet.  Second was a humorous instance of a man shooting at someone and when he missed the other guy had time to run back to kick dirt on him before fleeing.

I do not even know where to begin with the acting because every single actor was flawless even the most minor of characters.  Lewis as a withered and rickety Lincoln was incredible.  One of the lines from the movie was along the lines of him aging more than eight years in the span of one and there is no other way to describe it.  Sally Field easily should score at least a supporting nomination as Lincoln’s troubled yet wise wife.  The character that really kept my attention most was Thaddeus Stevens played by Tommy Lee Jones.  He was one of the most incremental pieces to the amendment and had some of the best insults I have ever heard.

So far my review sounds like I loved Lincoln.  However, I had some trouble following it for two reasons.  First is some of the language they used was so sophisticated and proper it would lose my attention.  Surely that is how they spoke during that point in history but I found myself questioning if I really followed what was going on (maybe I am just stupid).  Then I would just get bored at times especially with how Lincoln would tell stories instead of simply answering “yes” or “no.”  Again that is of no fault of the writers or Spielberg because supposedly that is what Lincoln would do.  But it just rubbed me the wrong way because my older relatives do that all the time and it annoys the hell out of me.

Overall, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a near masterpiece.  It is destine for at least a couple Oscars but is just not my bag of tea.  I am glad to say I saw it but probably will not be re-watching it anytime soon.  I give Lincoln a 7/10.  (My ratings are heavily dependent on if I would watch it again which is why this one is so low for how much praise I gave it)

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