Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Best Abe (Movie Review: Lincoln)

LINCOLN is overly long, it's talky, and it's slow. I won't argue with anyone who says those things about the movie. But, it is also thrilling, inspiring, rewarding, and touching. This movie is not about Abraham Lincoln's life. This movie is about the journey to having the thirteenth amendment passed. I couldn't have imagined all the drama that went on to have that passed. And it is so vivid on this screen I felt like I was there. Sure, the movie felt like a civics lesson, but we need to be schooled a lot of times. I really hope the ADD-addled youth of today pays attention, though I doubt this would keep them up - there are no vampires, no car chases, no explosions here. (Well, there is a war scene in the beginning of the movie, but I doubt it'd be enough) And Daniel Day Lewis' performance is so authentic, so realized that I will forever think of Lincoln in his incarnation. Though at times Lewis can overact, here he is subtle and real. I remember going to that Disneyland attraction where they have the motorized Lincoln reciting his speech and it scared me. None of that here. Sally Field is also great, and she is another one who could be over the top but she is reigned in here. She may be triumphant Oscar night. The whole ensemble is great, but I loved Tommy Lee Jones best as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. (It's Mr. Jones' year - he was also brilliant in the comedic Hope Springs)  This is the type of movie that demands to be seen again. I am sure I lost a lot of Tony Kushner's words, and the dialogue is particularly poetic. I know there's a lot more to see this year, but for now, this is tops.

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