Saturday, March 2, 2013



1865. Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) focuses his efforts in getting his landmark 13th Amendment, which is meant to abolish slavery in the United States, passed through congress months before the American Civil War reaches its end, so as to totally safeguard the anti-slavery provision in the American constitution. With the gridlock he encounters in congress, he relies on several men, both in power and working within the sidelines, to persuade at least 20 members of the opposition to support his cause. Meanwhile, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) continues to juggle her duties as wife, mother, and first lady of the White House, all while harboring some considerable amount of grief stemming from the death of one of their children, and the impending danger of their other son’s decision to draft himself into the army.

This film will bore a lot of people. That, I can say with conviction. Admit it, you have seen and experienced enough politics in real life and seeing a movie about it might seem pointless if a good diversion is your motive for going after all. To enjoy this movie, you have to try to look beyond that. Lincoln is not just a movie about politics. Here, you get to witness much more, but what is really worth noting is how one of America's most popular historical figures is humanized by Daniel Day-Lewis, whose turn as Abe gives you the impression as though you had met the political figure himself personally. His third Oscar is well-deserved!

Not everyone who sees this would even have a clue as to who this guy is. Some would even dismiss him as just another politician. That is where the brilliant method acting comes in. Books have done so much to present a profile of this guy, his political ambitions and contributions to contemporary American politics, his much publicized assassination. You do not need more of that, and this movie knows this. For that, the dynamics among the first family is also explored: conflicts between husband and wife, father and son. And then there are those mini anecdotes that he would always like to share. Suddenly, this guy is not a politician, but a human being cast in a fragile balancing act that could spell either doom or success for a nation torn in civil war.

But yeah, politics is still in the forefront, with the whole plot revolving around the 13th Amendment and the various hoops everyone had to jump through just to have it passed. Here you see a blatantly racist America, and the complicated political process and discourse that come along to assure that the equality the nation enjoys today is upheld and safeguarded in their constitution. Although one might argue that America is still racist, and this is not at all unfounded, it would be stupid to assume that this particular battle for the abolition of slavery was overrated. If for anything, this film does well in reminding the US of what kind of nation they were and why they should not slip back to such a primitive way of thinking.

Sally Field's return to Oscar territory would have been unstoppable if Les Misérables was released any other year, but there simply is no going against the hype that Hathaway rode on her way to her first Oscar, not that she did not deserve it. Field's Mary Todd is a cinematic portrait of a first lady who is more than anything else, a mother, and the wife of the most powerful man in the land. The dynamics between wife and husband provide good breaks from the monotony of the predominantly political atmosphere, but kept to a minimum to avoid too much drama inappropriate for such film.

While the focus is obviously the life of the titular character, one could still get a lot of insight regarding American politics and how to better understand it through a historical standpoint: the pros and cons of democracy; the gridlock between the executive and the legislative; the whole democrat - republican divide. Much of these elements are still very much present in their modern political system, and seeing how these have been present since time immemorial would probably shed some light on someone trying in vain to understand how America works. For everyone else, you get a biopic that features another facet of Lincoln that you might have not seen yet.

1 creature(s) gave a damn:

Essay proofreading services said...

I have seen this film after seeing it on your site. I liked it very much! he really deserves an Oscar

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