Daniel Day-Lewis is easily one of the most recognized and best actors of the past twenty plus years. With movies such as Gangs of New York, My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood under his belt, he won the best actor Oscar for two of those performances. Steven Spielberg hasn't produced and directed a movie I've liked since Catch Me If You Can back in 2002. But with a history like the one President Lincoln has and an outstanding actor in Daniel Day-Lewis he struck gold. Along with support in Sally Field, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln is the story of the final months of one of the most influential people in American history.
To put it simply, Lincoln follows the story of the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln's (Daniel Day-Lewis) life. These are the four months, starting in January, in which Lincoln struggled to pass the 13th Amendment in 1865. His main opposition in passing the 13th Amendment is radical republican leader Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones). His wife, Mary Lincoln Todd (Sally Field) is wearing thin. His son Robert Todd Lincoln (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is fighting for the Union. While his other son, Tad Lincoln (Gulliver McGrath), is being severely ignored by his mother at the time. Also worrying the family, is that his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation may not pass if the Civil War ends. With all the things going on in Lincoln's life; family problems, work problems and managing a war and country, this is a fascinating chronicle of the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life.
This, to me, is like history class turned into an amazing movie that I'll go back to after awhile. Where as history class I never wanna go back to again. Spielberg took this movie right out of the pages of the 2005 book, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearnis Goodwin. With the help of phenomenal acting and actors, he made this into one of the best historical movies of all time. The plot is very straightforward, which is exactly what you'd expect from a historical film and the story is one of the better ones from America's past. The attention to detail is one of the things I loved about this movie. The wardrobe, set design and the shooting of the battlefield, White House or any other historical place (or battle) was done beautifully. Also, Spielberg has said in interviews that the Smithsonian let his crew make an exact replica of Lincoln's pocket-watch. He's quoted as saying, when you hear his pocket watch in the movie, it's what Lincoln heard all those years ago. Holy crap, if that doesn't get you excited you can just stop reading. No please don't though, or do, at this point I can't stop you.
The acting in this is astounding and it's really what makes the movie. Daniel Day-Lewis is the arch of this movie. From Lincoln's high pitched voice, to the stories that Abraham would tell to ease tension or stress, the humor, or seriousness, was never lost in this fine performance. I'd also assume if you went into this knowing it was only the tale of Lincoln's life, you'd have no idea that Lewis was Lincoln. It adds to the fact that you're watching Linclon's life, not Lewis', I liked that. Even past the amazing performance Daniel Day-Lewis puts on, the rest of the cast follows suit. Sally Field was a great First Lady and Lincoln's wife, Mary. You could she the emotion pouring towards her husband in the scenes they're in together. Tommy Lee Jones was outstanding as Thaddeus Stevens. Oh man, there was a scene where it was just Lewis and Jones having a conversation, and I was glued to the screen. Both men played off of each other superbly and Tommy Lee helps make this movie almost as much as Lewis. Joseph Gordon Levitt did well with the screen time he got, especially some scenes toward the end of the movie. Also Gulliver McGrath was pretty solid as Tad.
I highly enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I loved Daniel Day-Lewis from There Will Be Blood as well as Tommy Lee Jones from No Country For Old Men both back in 2007. Spielberg has always been able to create a great film, but I had a few reservations going into a historical movie. The length could have been a little shorter, this is a two hour movie, but since I never felt it dragged too much (there are a few scenes) I can look past it. The look, feel, story and acting are all amazing. With the acting really propelling this into the top of Best Picture nominations at this years Oscars. Lincoln is a very good historical drama you should not skip out on.