This film focuses on the last four months of Lincoln’s life, mainly covering his insane attempts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment and kick slavery in its private areas. Daniel Day-Lewis is eerily good at playing Lincoln. Of all the descriptions I’ve ever read of the man, this was the first time I can honestly say I felt like I was watching “President Lincoln as… PRESIDENT LINCOLN!” He displays all of the traits you usually read about in books, but don’t actually see on-screen; one of the most notable being his ability to calm down and charm just about everybody during their most tense of moments, by telling funny old stories from his past. There’s a kind of warmth that you feel coming from his acting ability that makes me feel weird feels that I should probably talk to my doctor about. This man really is a living, breathing Abraham Lincoln, and it’s incredible.
When he’s not out hunting vampires, Lincoln can be seen speaking with all kinds of people, from all parties, races, etc. The movie also perfectly conveyed the fact that everyone around thought he had built one too many log cabins over the cuckoo’s nest, when he decided he wanted to get this amendment passed. The (ironically not) Civil War was nearing its end, and the Emancipation Proclamation was on its last two legs. The mission, should he choose to accept it, was to get that amendment passed BEFORE the Civil War reached its conclusion; that way, the slaves who were freed in order to fight the war wouldn’t be enslaved once again after the war’s end.
We also got to see a strong performance from Tommy Lee Jones, playing the Radical (and I totally mean that in the cheesy late-80’s kind of way) Republican Congressional leader, known as Thaddeus Stevens. While I truly felt like every other part in the film was dead on, to the point that I felt like I was there, it also felt like Tommy Lee Jones time traveled to be a part of this. Don’t get me wrong, his part was among one of the best in the film, but I guess… I don’t know; I’ve just seen him in too many other films to feel like he’s really part of this era. He came off more like a member of Time Squad; here to make sure that history flows through its natural course… which is awesome.
Another key player in this movie was Sally Field playing Mary Todd Lincoln. I forgot about how nuts this woman was, and it was nice to see someone who could play her properly. As you all know, I like me the crazy ones! I found it quite hilarious when she made a comment near the end of the film along the lines of “They’re only going to remember me for being that crazy lady that you put up with,” because that’s more or less what actually happened. Kudos to her for being such a good sport of it all! I’d have gladly jumped in with her to start screaming random obscenities at my badass lumberjack husband, for what seemed to be mostly insignificant reasons.
The bulk of enjoyment you’ll be getting out of this film will come from the amazing acting, the hardcore verbal political debates (which ended up being surprisingly edgy, but in a fun way), and the ways that everything comes together for the main characters this film focuses on. I would have liked to see more about Lincoln’s actual assassination, but I suppose they felt that adding John Wilkes Booth to the cast would have set up too many other plot threads that they didn’t have time for. The movie is already about two and a half hours, so it’s understandable… though it still sucks. I wanted to see him and his funny mustache attack the stage and give this movie an ending that NO one would forget! ... Yes, I’m getting help; stop asking.
For what it’s worth, this movie was pleasant, charming, and a bunch of other fancy words I’m not mature enough to think of. It’s a nice alternative to the continuous patterns we see with “Die Hard 11” and “I Know What You Did Last Paranormal Activity.” Even if you don’t find history to be your bag, I think you may surprise yourself with this one. I mean, I’m a deranged psychopath and I thought it was pretty swell. Get your intellectual on!
9 out of 10 Lincoln Logs
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be off to work on my super secret project… the next issue of my comic, which has no connection to this review whatsoever! … Or does it?