Daniel Day-Lewis Rises to Power in Lincoln

Posted on January 23, 2013 by

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Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t just play Abraham Lincoln in the film, Lincoln; he becomes the sixteenth president.
It’s a fascinating performance that boosts an otherwise dull movie.

‘Lincoln’ occupies a relatively minor timeframe in the famous president’s life.

The film occurs during the end of the Civil War, focusing on the passing of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. The film goes to great lengths to show Abraham Lincoln’s political genius.

Lengthy debate scenes between members of his cabinet are interesting at first but tend to get repetitive towards the end.

In fact, the script is filled with so much heavy-handed political dialogue that, in the hands of a lesser director and a lesser cast, ‘Lincoln’ could really have been a snore-fest.

Thankfully, Stephen Spielberg does not disappoint.

As a political movie, Lincoln is still relatively accessible even to those who do not care about politics or, more importantly, history.

There are several funny moments in the film, and also some sad ones, but there is an alarming lack of action.  All of this talk could have been broken up with one or more sequences of war violence.  The film stays in DC for most of the duration, which adds to the tediousness.

But this is Daniel Day-Lewis’s show through and through, even though Lincoln isn’t just about Abraham Lincoln. There is a rich and varied cast of supporting characters, all portrayed wonderfully by an equally varied cast of actors.

Tommy Lee Jones plays an angry senator from Pennsylvania, and he is also a source of comic relief.  Sally Fields plays Lincoln’s wife, and she is just as troubled a person as Lincoln is.  A heartbreaking scene towards the end depicts the couple in a heated argument. For this scene alone, they both deserve Oscar nods.  Joseph Gordon Levitt (who has been all over the map in 2012) plays Lincoln’s son.

Overall, Abraham Lincoln was a tragic figure in history and the film (more importantly, Daniel Day-Lewis) depicts that, but it could have been a bit less pretentious and a little more entertaining.

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