Lincoln (2012)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Takes a story you know and makes it interesting

Hard to do anything new with Lincoln, wish Spielberg had taken a few more risks in filming

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lincoln

Studio:  DreamWorks Studios

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  October 8, 2012 (New York Film Festival)/November 9, 2012 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Well, I can’t wait for retirement.

The war is raging, and Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is headed to a second term. As the South weakens, Abraham is faced with a difficult decision…end the war through a military effort or end the war through the 13th Amendment which is intended to ban slavery. With pressure in the White House from his wife Mary (Sally Field) to keep their son Robert Todd Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) out of the war and his own party threatening the wreck the vote through a push for more concessions than the end of slavery, the possibility of peace could destroy everything Lincoln has worked for. Now Lincoln is in a race against time to find the votes to get the amendment passed.


Listen kid…this is my movie. Got it?

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Lincoln was met with strong reviews. The movie was in plans for years with multiple actors cast and recast in roles (Liam Neeson was original cast to play Lincoln) and tons of script revisions. The movie was nominated for multiple awards including twelve Oscars.  It won awards for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis…the first “three-pete” winner) and Best Production Design with nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Editing.

I love Daniel Day-Lewis, but it is difficult to make a Lincoln movie since there have been so many versions of the character. Lewis went for a more natural Lincoln and studied the character a lot. Like many report, Lewis went for a higher voiced Lincoln than the deep voiced Lincoln that many portray.  In typical Daniel Day-Lewis fashion, he really seems to become Lincoln (or at least a really tall man like Lincoln) physically and carries himself in a way that seems consistant with accounts.  The problem is that Lincoln sometimes just comes off as saying a series of ancedotes instead of really giving a character. What really works is Daniel Day-Lewis’ interaction with other characters in showing his true character.


Do I have to go all Robert California on some Democrats?

The movie is loaded with cameos and has a great supporting cast. Tommy Lee Jones I feel steals the show as Thaddeus Stevens. David Strathairn is also good as Lincoln’s frustrated Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Hal Holbrook continues to be strong into his old age (and as a previous portrayer of Lincoln himself) as Preston Blair. I also enjoyed James Spader as schemer W.N. Bilbo and leader of the group set to locate all the weak links in the Democrats.  Other appearances include Jackie Earle Haley, Lukas Haas, Tim Blake Nelson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Bruce McGill, and Gloria Reuben.

The movie does get into a little bit of a problem with the family stuff.  Sally Field is ok as Lincoln’s wife Mary but just isn’t up to the level of Daniel Day-Lewis. The scenes between them sometimes just feel like stage play and not like a film. The look and style in some of these long scenes are rather uninspiring.


I love the theater…don’t you?

Steven Spielberg used to be so exciting when I was young, but now I get a bit depressed when I see a Spielberg film coming up. If you look at early films like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and other movies, Spielberg always was inventive and took risks…sometimes good and sometimes bad. Here, Spielberg shoots a good film, but it is blasé and easy without much innovation (I did like the dream shot of Lincoln).

Lincoln is a very good movie but not a great movie. I went into the film with a lot of reservations and liked it more than I thought but didn’t feel it was the best thing I’ve ever seen. I felt that the two and a half hours went by at an ok speed and didn’t drag too much, but others have said it was painfully slow.  I do recommend seeing the movie, but due to the lack of any big special effects or action scenes, it probably could get the same effect on a big home TV that you get in a theater.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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