After the box office atrocity that was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was elated to hear that Spielberg’s Lincoln was not far down the road. When I heard it would open the same weekend as Breaking Dawn Part II, my excitement began to fade. It is a bold move to place any movie in competition with such a clear box office following as Twilight, but perhaps Lincoln was there to give us moviegoers something more than a sparkly, soap opera romance. It was there to enlighten our hearts, and show us that when a group of experienced and accomplished artists come together, they can achieve perfection.
Story and script: 24/25
Tony Kushner’s interpretation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is nearly flawless in my eyes. The audience is moved seamlessly through the opening stages of Lincoln’s second term and the proposed end of the war. The film shows the viewers the political workings that passed the thirteenth amendment, as well as the toll it took on the president’s personal life. My only complaint, if it can be called that, is the story of Lincoln’s son, Robert, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His story develops nicely, but never pays off. Overall, the script is nearly flawless, with brilliant speeches, debates, jokes, and historical accuracy.
When you begin to think of possible Oscar winners, look no further than Daniel Day-Lewis. Lewis’ performance as Honest Abe. Never in my life have I seen someone fit more perfectly into a role. It was so easy to love Abe — from beginning to end. Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, as well as James Spader, all deliver top-tier acting performances. I would say that the casting for this film was absolutely perfect.
When Stephen Spielberg is at the helm, the ship is always going to sail smoothly. Without any dangerous twists or obscure scenes, Spielberg shoots a perfect period piece that will live for the ages. The grace and subtlety used in every shot pulls you in and keeps your mind focused on the immense story taking place. Even a well place shot of Lincoln’s silhouette in front of a sunset is enough to set the mood. My only fear entering this movie was how Spielberg would handle Abraham’s assassination. The answer? With due respect. There is no bloody horror scene, nor is there a tragic murder sequence, only the heart-shattering aftermath.
Finished Product: 24/25
This category is to credit all factors that are not solely important, but vital as a collective group. John William’s delivers yet another Oscar worthy score for Spielberg. The soundtrack often, if not always, sets the emotion for the task at hand, pulling on your heart-strings while bringing you to the edge of your seat. The settings and period era costumes rival that of any previous Oscar winner, and bring to life the end of the Civil War.
Final Score: 97/100
Overall, I not only loved this film, I cherished it. Every moment is a beautiful work of art that tells one of the most important stories of American history. Lincoln is a strong, compelling film that wonderfully portrays the hardest times in the life of our sixteenth president.