Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner, Doris Kearns Goodwin (Book)
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones
Plot: A dramatic representation of the events that led up to the signing of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
So what did you think?
Adam – Best on film portrayal of Lincoln I have ever seen. However, Spielberg manages to create a boring and sappy film centered around one of the most interesting and gripping times in American History. Sort of felt like you were sitting through the most boring history class of all time.
Scotty - As I sat down to watch this, the echo of all the naysayers had me thinking I was in for a long, boring film with very little excitement but what I viewed was an enlightening, well done film about one of the most important men in our history as a nation. I really liked this film and yes, at times it was slow, but the dialogue was incredible. I could listen to Lincoln’s story telling for days never mind hours.
Griff – I watched this entire movie and I didn’t see a single vampire. What’s up with that? Seriously though, this movie put me to sleep faster than herbal tea. It sets the standard for boring. Somewhere nestled in amongst the cheesy dialogue, and corny screenplay, there is a an excellent performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. Other than that, this movie was an absolute drag to watch.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – I was pretty pumped up to see this film. My studies had focused upon the Civil War and reconstruction era while getting my degree. I had taken several classes devoted to this period in history and Lincoln in particular. However, my excitement was tempered by recalling how many times I have been burned by Spielberg in the last fifteen years.
Scotty – I was expecting to be bored out of my mind and wishing I played Black Ops II instead.
Griff – I haven’t seen a good movie from Spielberg in years but after Bore Horse I figured things couldn’t get any worse.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – I thought the set pieces and costume design was great. It was a very impressive attempt to capture the look and feel of Washington D.C. and it’s political culture of the 1860’s.
Scotty - This is a film based on history that, albeit not well, was taught to most of us through our years of schooling.
Griff – Same old hackneyed stuff from Spielberg. At this point when he tries to go for emotional impact it just comes off as contrived and hokey.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – Not sure how you could manage to make this film less exciting than The Disneyland Hall of Presidents. Yet somehow Screenwriter Tony Kushner achieved the impossible.
Scotty – I thought the script was great, it captured the dialogue of the time when people were quick witted and insightful in their retorts. I wish politics were more like this, maybe they are and I just do not know. I also thought the story telling was incredible.
Griff - Oh god no. There were scenes in this movie that were painful to watch. Lukas Haas and the kid from Chronicle spouting off the Gettysburg address so was contrived and manipulative that it made me want to stop watching before I was 15 minutes in.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – It goes with out saying that Daniel Day Lewis manages to capture the esence of Lincoln with his excellent portrayal of the Great Emancipator. Similarly, I thought, Tommy Lee Jones was fun to watch as Thaddeus Stevens. On the other hand why are the talents of Spader, Hawkes and Gordon-Levitt so underutilized in this film?
Scotty – Daniel Day Lewis is the best character actor of our time and he shows us again why this is true. By the end of the film you do not see the actor you see Lincoln. The ability to convince us that he is who he is playing is incredible and refreshing.
Griff - Daniel Day Lewis was amazing as Lincoln but his facial expression reminded me of Robin Williams as Popeye back in the 80’s and after that was in my head, it was all I could think about. I also thought James Spader did a nice job in this one. I am always impressed by how much girth he has managed to bring to his roles. Why was Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this movie? There was nothing for him to do in this picture.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – Nope, seemed like a mix of classical with a bit of modern folk type music thrown in. There was never a point where I was overwhelmed by the score.
Scotty - When the 13th Amendment was passed the House broke into a song, what that is I don’t know but that is the only song I remember.
Griff - I could have sworn they were playing one of those sleep assisting CD’s in the background throughout the whole movie. You know the ones with ocean waves and sounds of the forest you can get in one of those places that smell like patchouli?
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “Each of us has made it possible for the other to do terrible things” Abraham Lincoln. That quote would also work for everyone that finances a Spielberg film.
Scotty – I have a few here but I will limit myself to one. While telling a story about Ethan Allen Lincoln refers to a time when Allen was in England on a foreign policy mission he walked into a water closet (bathroom) and there was a picture of George Washington hanging there and when Allen returned the King I believed asked him what he thought of the picture and Allen said he liked it. The King laughed about it saying the water closet was a nice place to hang a photo and Allen replied
“The world knows nothing will make an Englishman shit quicker than the sight of George Washington.”
Griff – “I said aye, Mr. McPherson. AYYYYYYEEEEEE!” (Obviously a future member of the church of the fonz.)
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - A new script/screen writer and director. Lets face it Daniel Day Lewis is consummate professional and one of the greatest working actors today. Are we to credit his performance in Lincoln to the direction of Spielberg?
Scotty – Nothing here, I thought it was well done.
Griff - At this point I am going to have to say it would have been better if someone else had directed it. I love Spielberg but he has lost his edge. He has become the Robert DeNiro of directors. That said, DeNiro was excellent in Silver Linings Playbook so there is always hope right?
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - I am so glad I watched this from the comfort of my own couch. No reason I can see to rush out and see this at a theater. Save your cash and wait for the DVD or streaming to watch this one.
Scotty – No need to see this in the theater it will be just as good at home. Lewis is going to win best actor so if you are one of those people who need to see it before the Oscars, than get out to the cinema.
Griff – If you have been having some trouble sleeping lately, I am pretty sure that the DVD will be more effective than a bottle of ZzzQuil at helping you get some rest.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – If you want to watch some impressive Spielberg before he decided to neuter himself than go and check out Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Scotty – I had the pleasure of watching The Conspirator which was also about Lincoln and was well done. The Candidate and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington also come to mind.
Griff - If you want to see an excellent movie dealing with the Civil War I would check out Glory from back in 1989.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – This film continues the trend of that old codger Spielberg force feeding us his syrupy drivel. Honestly, I have really only enjoyed one Spielberg directed film since 1998‘s Saving Private Ryan. Two other things really rubbed my rhubarb about this film. The first being Spielberg having the hubris to withhold the release of the film until after the conclusion of the latest U.S. presidential election so as not to sway the outcome. Secondly, I am aghast at his decision to promote revisionist history by changing the names of the house members who voted no on the question of the 13th Amendment. Why not call out those racist sons a bitches? Who elected Spielberg grand wizard of historical accuracy?
Scotty – I really liked this film beyond what I was expecting and I cannot say enough about Daniel Day Lewis. The dialogue, storytelling is top-notch and the supporting cast is well built with incredible moments from Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Fields. Joseph Gordon Levitt was the only weak link and I do not think it was a fault of his own, just the part was thin. If you like historical movies about great men than this film is worth a viewing. For those of you who need action and instant gratification this will not fit and you will be bored. Daniel Day Lewis’ performance should not be missed by any movie goer and is the highlight of the film and an Oscar lock in my opinion, it’s that good.
Griff - Utterly boring and disappointing. This movie is buoyed by a great performance by Lewis. If not for that, this would have been more boring than watching my computer defrag. I pray this doesn’t win the Oscar for best picture. I don’t want Spielberg to think that what he is doing is ok.