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Lincoln Review
By Darrin Jones / November 16

Ingredients: If you liked the intensity of J. Edgar, the personality of Thirteen Days, and the earnestness of Milk, then you will like this movie.

Well, I had originally planned to review Anna Karenina but I was denied by it’s limited release. However, this site is still classy and sophisticated, so instead I turned my attention to something else historically significant. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. Hah! Just kidding, I saw Lincoln. Though oddly enough this is the second time the 16th President has had to fight off vampire foes. Only this time instead of fighting for the fate of humanity against the undead scourge, he’s fighting for box-office returns against sparkly teenagers. Fortunately, what Lincoln lacks in a general audience it more then makes up for in award winning performances. Lincoln focuses mainly on the President’s life after his re-election in the middle of the American Civil War and his work to pass the 13th Amendment that would end slavery in the states.

The acting is outstanding and perfectly cast. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard Daniel Day-Lewis was playing Lincoln in Lincoln (and probably driving a Lincoln.) Day-Lewis is well known for playing bombastic, high-energy, larger then life characters which, aside from one particular action movie, Abraham Lincoln was not known for. But he does a fantastic job portraying Lincoln as a soft-spoken man with a deep abiding love for justice and freedom, but who is trapped between what he knows will end the war and what he knows will free the United States from the evils of slavery once and for all. He also switches seamlessly between a somber man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a light-hearted man of the people that likes to indulge in comical anecdotes. Sally Field plays Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, and does a great job with the role giving the President’s wife the gravitas she’s been sorely missing. James Spader and Tommy Lee Jones steal any scene they’re in as W.N. Bilbo and Thaddeus Stevens. In fact, I could spend the rest of the review just calling out the names of the superior cast this movie is sporting but I’ll save time by saying there wasn’t a weak performance in the bunch.

Much of the movie is centered around the politics of 19th century United States but with veteran director Steven Spielberg at the reigns the scenes are anything but boring. The film excels at depicting Lincoln’s life without overly glorifying or condemning it and that is largely due to Spielberg’s expertise at building big emotional appeal with minimal directness. At least until the movie’s final minutes. Not to deter any interested viewers but the flick might have you rolling your eyes at some particularly manipulative moments and wishing that the credits had started rolling a little sooner. And it should be of no surprise that Lincoln is a very timely release for a myriad of reasons, including high politics tempers and the approaching award season.

All in all, I highly recommend Lincoln to anyone that is enthralled by quality filmmaking, phenomenal acting, a good solid historical story, and can overlook some obvious oscar baiting. And for anyone else, enjoy your glittery vampire/shirtless wolf fights. I’m going to be preparing myself for a more serious film. Maybe something involving Santa Claus teaming up with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to fight an evil spirit. Now that's some childish fanfiction worth seeing.

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