Watching "Lincoln"
Published on December 4, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new movie "Lincoln."

Here's an excerpt:

"Most biopics are, at best, average films — anchored by great performances, but undermined by conventional and unimaginative filmmaking. And yet I’ve always had a soft spot for the biopic. I almost always learn something from these films, and even the most mediocre ones generally inspire me to read more about the subject of the movie I’ve just watched.

I was pleased to discover that the new Steven Spielberg film 'Lincoln' is a very good biopic — one of the best of recent years. Like all biopics, “Lincoln” has its flaws, but what’s good about the film is really, really good, and very much worth seeing and thinking about.

The movie’s greatest accomplishment is its earthy portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Here is a Lincoln who feels like a real man rather than simply a revered historical figure or some kind of saintly politician. I was actually kind of amazed by how well the film conveyed what it might have been like to listen to Lincoln tell a story, or sit on his cabinet, or serve on the White House staff. He always comes across as the smartest person in the room, deeply committed to saving the union and ending slavery, but acutely aware of the compromises that are needed to accomplish his goals. We see him as a husband and father who still grieves the loss of his son and struggles to deal with his difficult wife. This Lincoln is funny, shrewd, sad, tired, talkative and observant. One of the movie’s best images depicts him striding down a corridor, alone. In a weird way, the film makes it both easy and difficult to relate to him. He was obviously a man of great intelligence and gifts, but one who found himself worn down by the demands of his job and domestic life. Credit, of course, should go to Daniel Day-Lewis, for his amazing portrayal of the 16th president."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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