Lincoln

Lincoln

(2012)

Steven Spielberg's political biopic of the 16th President of the USA, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner. Focusing on the final four months of his life, Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis, winner of the Golden Globe for this performance) clashes with members of his cabinet on the road to abolishing slavery and ending the American Civil War.... More

Unsatisfied that his Emancipation Proclamation will be enough to safeguard the freedom of slaves after the conclusion of fighting, Lincoln seeks to push a 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution through the House of Representatives that would formally bring slavery to an end. To do so, Lincoln will need to convince members of his own Republican party and win over enough Democrats to pass the vote. The task will require the politician's famed debating and speechmaking skills, but also a dabble in unsavoury methods in the shadows of democracy.

Kushner's screenplay is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The cast also includes Sally Field as Lincoln's wife, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his son, Tommy Lee Jones as a Congressional leader and Jackie Earle Haley as the secessionists' Vice-President.Hide

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Flicks Review

Steven Spielberg has always been a sentimentalist, but it's been easy to forgive because of his mastery of the cinematic form and the medium's suitability to big broad emotions.... More

Occasionally though (Always; The Terminal), his sentimental side overcomes his filmmaking instincts, and we end up with a film like Lincoln.

A shamelessly hagiographic chronicling of the final months of the Great Emancipator's life, the film deifies Lincoln to greater heights than ever before while struggling to constuct anything resembling a captivating narrative around his various speeches and pronouncements.

Abraham Lincoln's achievements were historic, and he is undoubtedly worthy of such respect, but this isn't his retirement party, it's a movie. And movies have an obligation to engage the viewer in something more than hushed reverence.

The plot that drives this film concerns a parliamentary vote for which history has long since determined the outcome. Outside of this in-no-way-gripping-whatsoever storyline we get familial conflict involving Lincoln's wife (Sally Field) and eldest son (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

And of course Daniel Day-Lewis' title performance, which prevents this film from receiving a one star rating. He's impressive to be sure, and that might be enough to get some members of the audience through the film. But Spielberg appears to think his mere presence is inherently dramatic, and hangs way too much of the film on his pontificating.

It's clear that some of the power of this movie is lost when viewed outside of an American context. I love all things American, but in this instance, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 10 ratings, 10 reviews
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BY wobbit superstar

Good movie but not wonderful. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was better, lol..


BY Zamm superstar

I'm not rating this for accuracy but for my movie going experience. I love Daniel Day Lewis' - he never disappoints. The movie told of Lincoln's determination, strength of character and gave a good understanding of how was so loved and hated. I thought that the cinematography was great!


BY Brian1 superstar

I found this a well actyed and engrossing experience. Can't be sure about the accuracy, but trust not too far, at least in principle.


I hated history in school. I was terrible at it, the topics bored me and the movies they played to accompany the education were about as exciting as a trigonometry test. 'Lincoln' made me fortunate that I didn't grow up in America as a 2013 high school student, because I didn't need more reasons to fall asleep in class. Amongst the glut of edutainment and sentimentalism, I had a massive appreciation for the performances on display and it has one of the year's richest production designs.... More However, a history book won't win me over just because it's bound in leather.Hide


I am sorry that you were, apparently, disappointed with this effort. Personally, I found it a very worthwhile experience. Perhaps you would find greater satisfaction with Raymond Massey's 1940 portrayal in 'Abe Lincoln in Illiniois'. It is now available on an NTSC R0 disc, although not from NZ sources. Then again, it too is quite expository and may also be less than you desire.


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The Press Reviews

89% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The hallmark of the man, performed so powerfully by Daniel Day-Lewis, is calm self-confidence, patience and a willingness to play politics in a realistic way. Full Review

  • As unexpected as it is intelligent, thanks to virtuoso work from Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln is landmark filmmaking, while Day-Lewis is so authentic he pulls off that stovepipe. Full Review

  • What a feat from Day-Lewis: the nearest thing a 21st-century biopic can get to a seance. Full Review

  • An absorbing, densely packed, sometimes funny telling of the 16th president's masterful effort in manipulating the passage of the 13th amendment. Full Review

  • A rousing, rigorous and morally complex legal procedural. Full Review

  • There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg's direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point. Full Review

  • Steeped in the bitter political divisions of the Civil War, Spielberg’s thrilling film about hardwon freedoms is immersed in its own time, but speaks eloquently to ours. Full Review

  • A rough and noble democratic masterpiece — an omen, perhaps, that movies for the people shall not perish from the earth. Full Review

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