Steven Spielberg put forth an epic film which makes audiences see Abraham Lincoln in a different light. The story is really captivating and detailed taking us back in Abraham time, the 16th president of US. In the movie Lincoln is shown as a human who is not beyond the common human flaws like fear, indecisiveness, distraction, domestic battles etc. He was portrayed as a real politician who would like to have his way even if he had to do political double dealing for that matter. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the larger than life lead character with epic extraordinary preciseness exhibiting his amazing acting skills.
A small part of the film is inspired by Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns, bestseller on President Lincoln that came out in 2005. Tony Kushner makes us remember the forgotten story by letting us peak into the corridors of past. Every room of White House has a story to tell. In 1865 the newly re-elected president is posed with a problem of making a nation stand which is left divided by the civil war. In the midst of the chaos going on at his house, Lincoln successfully presented 13th Amendment in Congress to abolish slavery forever.
Lincoln is portrayed as larger than life character who is obstinate, eloquent, patriotic, insubordinate, manipulative, ardent talker who makes people hear him. He was a kind of person who would argue till the end of the world and won’t give up until he convinces the opposing party. Battle scenes are rare in the movie as the opening one which shows soldiers dying in dirt and two black soldiers repeat Lincoln’s Gettyburg Address to Lincoln, ironically questioning “All men are created equally” how it works in the real world. Lincoln was victimized by political skeptics as what he would say contrast to what was happening in the country.
Day-Lewis successfully played the role as a calm person in the middle of the turmoil but sometimes he let us see what he was going through as he was fighting on multiple fronts from his marital life to state affairs nothing was smooth sailing. Lincoln had to attend a depressive wife at home who was melancholy because her eldest son was about to enlist and another son Willie died of Typhoid. She was totally indifferent to what was going on around her and Lincoln had to take care of their youngest son Tad to maintain a little order in the household. She bore extreme criticism on her lifestyle and obstinate attitude. She expected that history writers will glorify her husband while painting her as a crazy lady in the White House. She had her fair share of fears and doubts.
Lincoln’s job was really challenging and there came a time when people who were really close to him started telling him to be decisive either he wants to abolish slavery or continue the war. Because both things side by side didn’t make sense.
Spielberg and Kushner proved themselves as masters of creating suspense when they show Lincoln getting things done with whatever it takes. Janusz Kaminski was really artful at camera handling which is proven by the use of various mesmerizing visual effects.
Tommy Lee Jones brings in the much wanted action in the movie by playing Republican Thaddeus Stevens whose fangs spare nobody in the house who has hypocritical views of continuing the war and chant the “abolish slavery” slogan at the same time. His tongue was like a spear who knew its work too well, how to make the opponent speechless. He is portrayed as sensational, fearless, outspoken person with an amazing sense of humor.
John Hawkes, Time Bake Nelson and James Spader deserve applause as well who played the role of the lobbyists and pressure builders to support Lincoln and make the opponents step down from the urgent demands. This shows that Lincoln who is an icon and stand as a man of principles used to employ dirty methods to achieve his ends like any politician does. Lincoln was a real man of nerves who didn’t flinch in the hardest of ordeals and he knew how to handle pressure.
At many parts of the movie Lincoln is shown as estranged and tormented soul who walks the hallways of White House with a tornado brewing inside from unsettling political and marital life but with a face that is too seasoned to hide emotions. He was alone on the two fronts he was fighting but he didn’t let his opponents to push him against the wall. Lincoln lives Theodore Roosevelt’s saying that he is “the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…” and even if he fails “while daring greatly” his name will be taken in high esteem by the generations to come. Everyone knows that he was a great politician but this movie gives you an inside that what even great politicians have to do to have their way and how twisted their personal lives can be so they struggle hard to keep up appearances and sound composed in the public.
Post by Kate Pirs. Marketing manager in a team, who developed mSpy – cell phone spying app, which helps tracking children smartphone activity and finding stolen or lost phones.