Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Tony Kushner
Based on the book, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Jackie Earl Haley, Tim Blake Nelson, Lee Pace and Joseph Cross
There was trepidation in watching Steven Spielberg's latest movie. Another year, another biopic for gimmee gimmee lotsa Oscars. It is played out and stale. The movie was nomianted for 12 Oscars, which is eight too much in my opinion. You can possibly tell there was not love out for this movie.
It seems that Spielberg and company wanted to take an atypical biopic like Capote (hated it) or Milk (meh). Make it a one word title, specifically the last name and try to focus on one specific time in the insert historical person here's life and spit it out to the American public. Here, the film focuses on the last four months of Lincoln's (Day-Lewis) life as he tireously tries to get the thirteenth amendment passed and signed into law. That's it. That the whole movie in a nutshell.
The movie is like watching long drawn out version of The West Wing with a bunch of filler to over-stuff it. The boring back and forth about a piece of legislation. The movie did not focus on Lincoln that much. It was all about the damn amendment. It should have been called The Thirteenth Amendment. This is no way downgrading what the piece of legislation has done to my ancestors and many others, but nobody wants to hear a bunch of stuffy men talk about legislation for over two hours. It grows tiresome after ten minutes.
A movie having a 86 Metacrtic would have been at least enjoyable. There was some dozing moments on my end. Everybody is touting that DDL will be the first actor ever to win three Best Actor Oscars. What's so special about this performance? It was laid flat. No nuisance. No gravitas. It was a dead fish. His performance in There Will Be Blood was leaps and bounds better than his Lincoln lite he put on.
The only person worth mention is the brilliant performance of Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, the Pennsylvanian Representative that fought for most of his life to get slavery abolished in the country. Whenever he was onscreen, nobody was in the room. He has an intensity that few could master. Bravo, TLJ.
Sally Field on the other hand was cartoonish in her portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln. It felt like she was in a different movie. Like she was in a soap opera the way she was speaking. It was reminiscent of Soapdish (which she was in) and not in a good way.
My expectations were very low of this movie and it did not exceed them in the slight bit. There is something that bothered me, when the credit were rolling, did anybody catch the obvious lens flare? Really, Mr. Spielberg? you wanted to do this movie for the last decade when Liam Neeson was attached to play Lincoln. This is what you came up with. Back to drawing board, sir.