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“Lincoln” is simply amazing

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Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln is spell-binding.

Holly and I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the movie “Lincoln” over the Christmas break.  I expected to be amazed and riveted.

I was.

I had heard enough about the movie already to know that it mainly concerns itself with the passage of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States.  It was passed by the House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 1865, only about three months before the President’s assassination.

The movie is equally a character study of Abraham Lincoln and a civics lesson on the back-room, hand-to-hand combat of Washington politics.  (I don’t suspect that much has changed in that respect since 1865.)  This political wrangling and strong-arming propels the movie down the tracks, and takes concentration; If you start daydreaming, you’ll miss something important.

But it’s easy to stay engaged, because watching Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln is like seeing those iconic Matthew Brady images come to life.  In the same way that I found myself relieved and satisfied with Peter Jackson’s vision of “The Lord of the Rings” the first time I saw it, I’m now content with director Steven Speilberg’s vision of Abraham Lincoln.  He and Day-Lewis nail the folksy, yarn-spinning persona that I’ve always hoped was true of the real man.  Of course, seeing it in a movie doesn’t make it so, but it’s nice when your hopes and expectations of a public person align with those of the film-maker.

Without getting into a full-blown Hollywood review of the movie, I just want to add that I’d like to see “Lincoln” and the HBO mini-series, “John Adams” become required viewing for American high-school students.  In this day and age of entitlement, Americans should be reminded of the intelligence, moral fiber, and courage that was necessary to first invent our country and then, hold it together by a thread in the face of near obliteration while removing the malignant tumor of slavery.

This must never be forgotten.

 

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