We all knew that Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, was going to be good. But honestly, is Lincoln “great”? Well, I’d safely put this one on the “great” Spielberg shelf with Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List — and above the shelf with War Horse and Amistad.
Wisely, the film doesn’t try to tell the life story of the 16th president of the United States. It focuses on a single moment in time: the final four months of the chief executive's life as he attempts to get The House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery.
Day-Lewis is haunting and powerful in the central role. Through him, we see our heroic President’s fabled communication skills and his gift for reconciling irreconcilable points of view. The dilemma of the film challenges strong men to move beyond partisan thinking to accomplish a greater good.
Ironically, Lincoln is a story about our democratic system that couldn’t be timelier.
Simply put: Lincoln is a grand ol’ Spielberg film. Expect a political thriller, not an exhaustive biopic.
Award potential: It will certainly garner more nominations than any other film this year. And it’s very likely to have the most ever. 15? Maybe. Titanic and All About Eve had 14 nods, but unlike Titanic, this film will score with multiple acting noms in addition to nods for Best Picture and technical categories.
It’s too early to tell if we’ll have a single winner in Daniel Day-Lewis or a sweep. If Spielberg is snubbed, expect Daniel Day-Lewis to be the sole winner. Next best bet? Sally Field, who’s really, really likable for redefining the “crazy” Mary Todd Lincoln with a layered performance for the ages.
The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks