I had chance to see Lincoln last week and decided to wait for a little bit before writing about the movie. Aside from being ill part of the time since seeing the film, the other reason I wanted to ponder about this movie first was because Lincoln is not like most other movies. In many ways it comes across to the viewer like an extended newsreel – not much action, but a hell of a lot of intense detail.
The format of the film was intriguing, but if you are sick and tired of politics, the level of detail and lobbying will not make you feel any better. Unlike The West Wing, most of it was not pithy, nor filled with humorous barbs.
Daniel Day-Lewis is magnificent in the role of Abraham Lincoln. The short stories and tales told by Day-Lewis as Lincoln are witty and priceless. Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Sally Field, and the rest of the ensemble were also terrific. I was particularly impressed by Jared Harris in the role of General Ulysses S. Grant. My only question is whether these stellar performances were uplifted to greater heights by the intensity of the dialogue, subject matter, and historical setting or the whether their collective acting hit stride all at the same time. Perhaps, that is where kudos go to Steven Spielberg – pulling out the very best from his cast members.
As a total motion picture, I liked Les Miserables better. I believe Anne Hathaway’s performance in that movie is the best I have seen of any actor all year. I also really liked Hugh Jackman’s performance in the same film. Whether it was good enough to win more votes than Daniel Day-Lewis is up to the Oscar voters.
Regardless of which movie wins best picture or which actors did the best job, Lincoln is a historical and cinematic achievement. Enjoy!