Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lincoln Is A Movie You Must See

Lincoln Is Sure To Win An Oscar

Steven Spielberg has made some great movies in his career, which now spans nearly four decades, but he has outdone himself with Lincoln. This film ranks up there with his best work -- E.T., Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler’s List.

There are many challenges to bringing an iconic figure to the big screen. For one, we know how the story ends. Many books and movies have covered Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and the freeing of blacks from slavery. But Spielberg managed to pull off a whopper. Part of it was his great direction, and part was getting excellent acting performances from Sally Field and Daniel Day Lewis (See There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, My Left Foot), as well as rich supportive roles from the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and a cast of recognizable faces. But the biggest reason the movie is a rich success is that it has such fascinating material to play with.

I left the sold-out theater in Manhattan in tears, along with many others. What impressed me was how Lincoln was depicted, the human side. This man had to face so much upheaval in his life and presidency. While in office he lost a son, his wife nearly cracked up, the country fought a bitter civil war, and he pushed through a constitutional amendment that freed the slaves. But it all came at such a heavy price and ultimately cost him his life. He spouted wisdom and stories to anyone who would listen and came off more like a preacher than a politician. He seemed kindhearted and visionary, but he wasn’t beyond doing what was practical and necessary, even if it meant twisting the words and intention of laws -- and legislators’ arms.

I cannot imagine what any national leader goes through to keep a country moving forward but it is clear that Lincoln faced challenges that few presidents have had to deal with, both politically and personally. Even if you are convinced you know everything about Lincoln, I urge you to see this movie. It may move you to cry, to cheer, to jeer, but it will move you for sure. 

Great movies tell stories in ways that make viewers think about them long after they have left the theater. This one will stay with me for some time to come.

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