Lincoln (2012)


Lincoln (2012)As expected Lincoln (2012) was a rich, deep and thought-provoking film, that leaned on the side of being too long for its own good. Agreed it has to be long to take in the struggle that Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) embarked on to get the 13th amendment passed in the house of representatives. As a member of the audience was looking on in history being made the mark of a great film, to suspend my disbelief to be at the end of the civil war.

And maybe a little too much, spending time in the company of a film that was weighed down by political dialogue, which I knew was coming but to the point that I looked forward to the end of some of the longer scenes.

I was lost in the words of the historical orator as he recites his stories with ease and grace that made up for those heavy scenes, making me more at home in this time.

The scenes that cutaway from the House of Representatives was a relief as we followed William Seward’s (David Strathairn) men lead by (W.L.Bilbo) James Spader as they courted the necessary representatives to cast the right vote on the critical day. Sadly I felt Spader was miscast, a man from Massachusetts, whose accent crept through, still this was made up by his natural charm in a role that was made for him to play, since the days of Boston Legal

We see not only the former president but also a family man who made time for his sons and wife who stood by him, Whilst his elder son Robert Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who wanted to fight for his country allows us to see another side the to husband-wife/Mother-Father relationship, a couple who had previously lost a son to illness must let their eldest make his own choice and live by it, to satisfy his own heart and convictions. Leading to the role filled by Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln who gives her best as both the wife behind the scenes and to her president as first lady. Standing up to the world-weary and passionate Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) who goes on a far greater journey, a man who had fought passionately for the freedom of slavery to that of a true leader of his party and supporter of his president. A man forced to contend with the views of his democrat oppositions who test him and his character, a test of wills that Lincoln himself doesn’t have to do, not stepping into the house of representatives. The bill alone is all he needs.

Throw in the rumor of peace talks with the Confederates the tense vote hangs in the balance making for a great false finale that we would have settled for if it were not for history last page that casts a bloodstained shadow of his legacy, a price he must pay. The act of assassination is unusually not seen on-screen seen through the eyes of his son which makes for a more effective and unconventional ending that the audience is expecting.

So I end where I started the length maybe longer than us thought necessary, but then the longer the film, the more can be explored, which can be a double-edged sword, how much is too much? But how can you edit this film down…you don’t, it’s something we have to accept.

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