Lincoln brought the greatest President who ever lived back to life. Director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis managed to turn such an iconic figure into a fully believable human being. Even in a year with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Lincoln managed to maintain the integrity of such an important President. Although you might expect the film to cover the President’s entire life from his youth in a log cabin to his Gettysburg Address to his assassination at Ford’s Theatre, Lincoln only covers about 4 months. With the sole focus being his determined fight to abolish slavery. The Civil War is only briefly seen at the beginning and the famous address is only recited by Union soldiers.
The Best Picture nominated Lincoln is actually a talk heavy picture that keeps you a lot more invested than you might expect. A true talent that Spielberg has always possessed. Of course a large scale production and presidential score from John Williams helps too. Although Liam Neeson was originally cast in the titular role, only Daniel Day-Lewis could be so dedicated to portraying the tall hat wearing 16th President of the United States. An impressive feat that earned Day-Lewis an unprecedented third Academy Award for Best Actor. Turns out “Honest Abe” can have a sense of humor and a southern accent that isn’t overly deep. The battle for the Thirteenth Amendment is a war of words between his cabinet that shows just how passionate Lincoln was to free the slaves of Confederate states.
As engrossing as Lincoln himself is, the entire cast is packed with equally dedicated A-list actors. We also follow Lincoln’s relationship with his sons and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Sally Field explores her mental illness and challenging marriage to her powerful husband. Tommy Lee Jones is just as enthralling as fierce Republican congressional abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. The fight for Republicans to gain more Democratic votes has an obvious historical outcome, but it’s no less satisfying to witness African Americans receive their freedom. Lincoln only implies the President’s assassination. Instead the end is a hopeful speech by Abraham Lincoln during his re-election. Lincoln is for all the people who shall not perish from this Earth.