Saturday, November 17, 2012


Most critics have raved about Lincoln. A few others have called it boring. One reviewer talked about the stellar acting, writing, film production, but cautioned that you shouldn't expect to become "involved" in it. To which I respectfully respond: Are you F-ing kidding me?

My sister read somewhere that Lincoln was the third most written about figure in history, behind Jesus and Shakespeare (Now, there's a weird group).  It's Lincoln, for god's sake: the man, the myth, the audio-animatronic guy at Disneyland.  How can you possibly find him boring? Geez, didn't you cry when you visited the Lincoln Monument?

But beyond even the man himself, it is the sheer enormity of the subject matter that makes it impossible not to become involved in this film.  And without scenes of active battle or of the brutality of slavery, it manages to blow your mind with that enormity. It is emotionally overwhelming. And I have a sogged-out scarf to offer as evidence. (Not to worry---tears only. I was able to do the nose-blowing into a popcorn napkin). 

And to those who want to quibble about historical accuracy: does it really matter here? Greater minds than ours, who have devoted their lives to the study of history, have argued about the facts of the Civil War. Save it for them.  The importance of this film, as with Spielberg's Schindler's List, is in its ability to bring you to a place of mindful, and  profoundly emotional, connection to these extraordinary events in history. 

Everyone who is frustrated with politics and politicians should see this film. Government is not an entity. It is people. And people, unevolved as we are, fight it out, bend the truth, and, at times, compromise our own morality to move forward. This is a film about that compromise. And through the lies, the backroom shenanigans, and the under-the-table handshaking that is politics, there may still be a move toward the greater good. And you either believe that, or you give up. 

Thankfully, the movie's incredible tension (yes, even though we all know the outcome, it is still quite tense) is frequently cut by some great lines that made the audience laugh out loud. Tommy Lee Jones is a real hoot and Sally Field is terrific.  There are, interspersed, great scenes of humor, love, and heartbreak to help bring these historic figures to life. 

And speaking of bringing someone to life, Daniel Day-Lewis, as expected, is ...uh, Lincoln. He just is. The monument cracked open, and Abraham, thanks to the magic of cryogenics, walked down the giant steps and right into your local movie theater. Get there, before he heads back to D.C.

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