A Second Opinion: Lincoln

With last week’s high praise from Zac (read his review here), it’s time to give a second opinion on the film that is already getting Oscar buzz, Lincoln.

It’s understandable why everyone seems to love this film about our 16th president; he was a loveable man, after all.  Well, maybe not.  He did get shot…  Let me retract that last statement: Lincoln was an honorable man who did great things for this country, one of which was working towards setting the slaves free.  After all, this was what the Civil War was all about.  Wait, that’s not 100% true either?

As far as this film seems to want you to believe, the one thing that would end the war would be setting the slaves free first, because without this claim to property the southern states would no longer have anything to fight for.  So this is Lincoln’s mission, free the slaves to end the war.  God forbid the war ends first, then what bartering tool will he have to free this portion of the population?  So bring on the raised voices.  Lincoln yells, and he yells, with conviction on the amendment’s necessity booming for all to hear, including this individual who just so happened to be on the verge of sleep in her rather comfortable theater seat (it rocked, for crying out loud!).

History was never my best subject in school seeing as once the test was over the information leaked out of my ears and disappeared, so it should be no shock to anyone that I was fighting sleep for about an hour of this historical biopic drenched in politics.  I just couldn’t get into the lesson of it all.  Couldn’t we just throw some vampires in to liven things up? [I prefer the book version of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for those of you who didn’t ask]  The debates between those for and against this amendment were always lively and entertaining, and the words were poetic in how perfectly tuned they are (when they weren’t hard to follow), but had it not been for Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln stood a good chance of being losing my interest.

Seriously, just give this man an Oscar now, because his performance is so mesmerizing that it is hard to think of any one other man that stands a fighting chance.  It is in how he holds himself, it is in how he speaks to the masses in his declarations of what is necessary to make this a great nation, but best of all, it is in his presentation of Lincoln’s smaller moments.  You know that question about the five people, living or dead, you would invite to your dinner party?  Lewis bumped this high-hatted storyteller to the front of the list in these moments in which Lincoln would get lost in his own stories, as would we all as it is impossible not to hang on his every word.  In these moments, I was wide awake.

If it weren’t for the genre of the film, I too would be placing this near the top of my list for exceptional films of the year, but unfortunately a great battle sequence to start it all, a beautiful look in terms of how this world is presented, and Day-Lewis’s magical ability to embody this man are not enough to completely overcome my feel towards the genre as I am stuck knowing how great the film is without actually feeling it as much as the other viewers.

Final Grade: B

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