Movie Review – Lincoln

Posted: June 9, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Making a movie about a president who was loved by everyone is considered an easy task because it doesn’t have any challenges. But Spielberg by his authenticity and Daniel Day Lewis by his dedication made us all to fall in love with Lincoln yet another time. The story about how the film shaped into one goes like this. Initially Spielberg didn’t want to make this movie at all then he talked with Daniel Day Lewis about this script with a little bit of skepticism and Daniel Day Lewis accepted the offer with only one condition i.e. the movie must not be a musical. Spielberg gladly accepted and that’s how the movie was made. That is the history beyond this historical movie.


Any movie which Daniel Day Lewis acts couldn’t be talked about without at least one passage to sing laurels about him. The person you see in the movie is Abraham Lincoln and not Daniel Day Lewis. Like how some actors take certain roles for themselves Daniel Day Lewis does this for every role his with elan. Not even a moment he makes us think that it’s some other person. Performers may get overboard at times. Daniel Day Lewis is an intelligent performer. He acts in the movie where he has a huge scope but sees to that the movie doesn’t get affected by his magnanimity. I can’t think of any other actor acting in There will be Blood. It’s a movie for him. From tip to toe. Similarly Lincoln too is a movie for him. Right from the silhouette in the posters to the climax where he dies he has carried the film on his shoulders.

The movie doesn’t try to break any shackles, doesn’t try to tell us stories that we don’t know it’s about a chapter in the life of the honest president America has ever produced. Spielberg like fellow Americans would have idealized Lincoln which is evident on screen. We don’t see a single frame where he is shown as a dishonest person. He tries to passes the bill for 13th amendment for the rights of slaves. There are people who support him and there are people who don’t. We right away like the ones who are behind Lincoln.

It’s such a marvelous scene when the voting takes place. The judge calls out “of course Aye” as a last vote. To be honest I didn’t understand everything that was happening in the room. All I could see was Lincoln and his peers fighting against slavery. Still that scene gave me goose bumps when the amendment was passed. For an American it’d have had a tremendous impact as it’d have been the history which they had studied over and over and with much love. To see the scene from the past which we loved would have been a truly special moment. It’s no big surprise that the movie went on to win a lot of Oscars and grossed millions.

With the first scene itself we could see how big a hero Lincoln was during those times. Going to war field and personally seeing off people. We see a black man chanting “by the people, for the people, to the people” and fading away in the background. More than anything Lincoln is an excellent speaker. Being a great speaker is an unassailable asset. People become leaders because of this skill. It takes a great deal of skill to make the world listen to what you are going to say. Not only practice is important for it. One has to know how to make speech a package so that people will be glued to it. Lincoln has made that package perfect every single time. We don’t see Lincoln delivery speeches many times but whenever he does he does it with style.

The movie doesn’t try to explain anything to make its motive clear. What we see is what we get. It’s a present tense movie which talks about things which happens during a specific period of time without telling why it is happening or where it is leading to.  I’m a fan of those movies because it doesn’t try to imply its thoughts on us. It lets us have our conscience and think radically as to which is right and which is wrong. This film doesn’t have that much depth to think retrospectively though.

One should have known American politics to understand this movie. As I don’t know the appeal was less. All I could appreciate was the settings, the dialogues, shots and Daniel Day Lewis. Spielberg makes movies he loves. He doesn’t want to prove anything to the world. He always wanted to make a Bond movie because he is a huge fan of Bond. The first time he went to the franchises producer and asked whether he could direct the next movie of Bond the producer seemed to have said that he doesn’t have any Oscars and the next time when one of his movies were nominated for Oscars he had again gone and asked the producer about it. This time the producer had said, “Did you win any?” And that was his story about why he didn’t get to direct a Bond movie. What I’m coming to say is he has an affinity towards his liking. And that’s why his films are honest.

There may be lot of brilliant directors around but in spite of the brilliance not everyone makes films they wanted to make. Spielberg ticks his wish list first and then makes movies of others which are a rare quality. This makes his movies personal and gives a lot of depth. Lincoln is another example of his trait. His love for Lincoln is showcased in the movie. But he doesn’t get over enthusiastic and make a propaganda film calling Lincoln is the greatest ever he says that as far as he has seen Lincoln is the greatest ever American President. His love of Lincoln along with his love for cinema develops into a good product. Sometimes I even doubted whether it’s a political film because I could barely see any politics. Not the politics in literal term. The politics in politics. I couldn’t find that. I could see people who are one dimensional. Either they are right or they are wrong. In whatever they are they are true. If politics had been this decent during Lincoln’s era I would definitely like to know more about it.

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. The cast is great and what keeps this movie moving, even when it does get too talky and obvious at times.

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