Lincoln: a review and commentary

lincoln-214x305I’ve been struggling to find the words to explain why I liked the movie Lincoln. I attended an advanced screening on Wednesday night with my husband and left the theater in awe.  I knew it was a spectacular film, but I needed time to digest it and figure out why I left feeling that way.

The movie is a biographical war drama that depicts the final months in Lincoln’s presidency. The amazing Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Lincoln exactly how you would imagine him from your history classes.  His voice is calm and steady.  His stature intimidating yet warm and friendly. You are immediately drawn into his character.

The beginning was a tad confusing.  I felt as though I needed some type of introduction. But regardless, I was drawn in and shortly became swept up in the race to have the 13th amendment passed and slavery abolished before the end of the Civil War.

The cast is stellar.  Sally Fields plays Mary Todd Lincoln and attacks her with the same ferociousness as M’Lynn from Steel Magnolias.  She’s a woman whom history has sold off as a bit off her marbles following the death of her son, Willie.  But she also believed in her husband and was quite knowledgeable about the goings on in the US government.

My favorite character was Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones), a powerful member of the House of Representatives. His dialogue throughout the movie was a definite highlight for me.

Where I got stuck was in the fact that I was watching this movie the evening after an election that divided our nation.  I was seeing just how far we’ve come on one hand and just how little we’ve progressed on the other.

Lincoln quotes Euclid in the movie by saying “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another.”  This was a simple summation of his reasons for abolishing slavery.  Yet, here we are – almost 150 years later – and we’re still fighting for equality.  There are still people who do not believe that all people are created equal.

I believe we are all equal – black, white, gay, straight, religious, atheist.   If Lincoln were alive today, I think he’d be ashamed at how little we seem to have learned from our history.

But that’s not what the movie was about – simply my takeaway. And while I gather we will never really know how things truly went down so many years ago, this movie gives us a fantastic insight into the past and I highly recommend it for all who can appreciate a movie about our history.

Opens nationwide November 16. Rated PG-13.

I received free passes to see this movie.  All opinions are my own.

 

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