Steven Spielberg’s latest movie, Lincoln, set a new standard for epic films. Released on Nov. ninth, Lincoln is truly in a genre all its own. Steven Spielberg combines courtroom suspense, comedy, drama, and a biography of Lincoln’s final four months. Lincoln contains three intertwined stories, all focused on Lincoln and other members of the Republican party scrambling to pass the 13th Amendment, which would abolish slavery before the north wins and the southern states are admitted back into the union. If they fail, the southern states will vote against the amendment, making all the lives lost in battle for naught.
The first of the three plots you encounter focuses on Lincoln’s determined and confident mission to pass the 13th Amendment, and end the war as soon as possible, but to delay the south’s surrender long enough to pass the amendment. On top of running a nation, Lincoln has to be a father, a husband, and deal with the inner turmoil of dealing with a dead child and dealing with the guilt of a slaughtered generation. Then there is the plot of congressman Thaddeus Stevens, a sharp tongued devout abolitionist whose harsh words can occasionally be counter productive to his goal of passing the 13th Amendment, but are as inspiring as they are blunt. The final of the three plots involved Lincoln’s right hand man, William Seward and three crooks with whom he collaborated. The criminals are Roberts, Bilbo, and Schell. The three men work diligently to get Lincoln the 20 congressional votes he so desperately needs to pass the 13th Amendment.
Theatrically, Lincoln is brilliant. The script is phenomenal, as is the acting. Even in the speech of someone from the 1860’s, the insults hit hard and low. Lincoln also includes sporadic unexpected moments of comedy. Mary Todd Lincoln, played by Sally Field, had a very convincing breakdown, and you may have very well thought that it was the actresses child who died, not Lincolns.
Lincoln however, is a bit slow and lengthy. Running a long 150 minutes, this PG-13 film is for those who do not mind actively engaging in a movie to have a better understand what is happening. This slowness is well worth the inspiring and exciting ending scenes of the movie.
The only thing that was bothersome was the ending. Lincolns death seemed very much an afterthought, but this gave rise to the thought that this movie and the deeds he did were not focused on him, but his achievements and his dedication to the idea that all people are created equal.
Lincoln is a refreshingly well done film about one of America’s greatest men, and a tribute to his great deeds. Lincoln is sure to be one of Hollywood’s all time classics and perhaps the best work of some of the greatest actors of our time.