Movie Review: " Lincoln" at Vintage Village Theatre

Come to Village Theatre to meet the sixteenth president and those who helped him make history.

Daniel Day Lewis does an amazing job portraying our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. He is captivating, funny, and vulnerable. He is so very human.

Opening with a brutal battle field scene, the movie so appropriately shares the words of the Gettysburg Address. I was teary and emotional within the first five minutes!

This movie is less about the brutal battles of war and more about the daily dealings in the white house and Congress. It is about battles Lincoln needs to win to capitalize on gains that have been made in war time with the Emancipation Proclamation. The movie highlights the sheer will of the president to acquire the votes necessary to pass the thirteenth amendment in the House of Representatives.

Lincoln has just been re-elected and recognizes that he must advance the momentum gained by his signature on the Emancipation Proclamation. The Union is not unanimous in its beliefs about equal rights, but Lincoln knows that a proclamation signed during war time may be revoked at war’s end. It is imperative that the thirteenth amendment pass before the end of the war or returning southern states will block it before it becomes law.

Lincoln and his Secretary of State turn to creative measures to gain the necessary votes to pass the amendment. If you know history, you will know what happens, but it is fantastic to watch. It is emotional and amazing and heavy. It may very well leave you speechless.

This is a portrayal of the 1860’s that almost made me feel like I was there. It not only allows you an intimate relationship with our sixteenth president but with the men who would help change history. It is a reminder of just how much things have changed since Lincoln was our president. The President was so accessible to the public, with people waiting in the halls of the White House for an opportunity at an audience with Lincoln. Night time was by candle light and battle field observations were done on horseback. People traveled by horse carriage and messages were most quickly sent or received by telegraph.

There is poignant language throughout the film and the casting is superb. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens definitely gives the movie more character. James Spader is entertaining and Sally Field does a fantastic job as Mary Todd Lincoln. James Strathairn plays Secretary of State William Seward and Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays Robert Lincoln, the president’s son who demands permission to enlist and fight.

Fellow viewer Kate said that she can’t see anyone winning the best actor academy award but Daniel Day Lewis. She said, “The movie was great! I never realized the day to day struggle this man went through from his wife to the burden of the war, the pace of it and the back stage dealings.”

Some folks I talked to said it could have been thirty minutes shorter and while I have a hard time sitting for two and a half hours, I did not mind with this movie at all. Lincoln, however, has always been my favorite president and his speeches some of my favorite things to read and hear. I truly believe that in some ways it was by his sheer will that our country stayed united. I would see this movie again and would take the PG-13 rating to heart as the subject is quite involved for young children.

Stroll on down to the Village Theatre for a ride through history.

Running time 149 minutes

Kellee Hearther

Online Editor

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Tags: entertainment, military, people

Comment by Valerie Felts on November 21, 2012 at 3:17am

I haven't seen the film yet. Friends who have seen it have nothing but high praise for it, and I will see it. What I really want to comment on here, Kellee, is your writing and your film criticism. I started reading this review not expecting much, sorry to say - and was I ever wrong, and happy to be so! Your writing is full, detailed, focused, and very enjoyable to read - and your film criticism is extremely thorough! I, too, am an enormous fan of Abraham Lincoln's, and I confess I was teary and emotional within the first 10 seconds of the trailer. I was discussing the film, Lincoln, the Civil War, and civil rights today with a friend who has seen it, and he's not an easy guy to please but thoughtful and open - the best kind of person to get reviews of anything from, I've found - and he agrees with you about the quality of the film. Hard to go wrong with Day-Lewis, Spielberg, Tony Kushner, Tommy Lee Jones, et al - but the gods know it's happened - fortunately, however, it seems not in this case. I'll share your review with him (he's also in my writer's group), and I will be surprised if his opinion of your writing doesn't jibe with mine. Well done and thank you! What an unexpected pleasure. I'll look for your byline in the future.

Comment by Connie Spitzer on November 22, 2012 at 6:33am

My nephew has a very small speaking part in this movie.  When Lincoln enters the tent with the wounded warriors, he says to the first soldlier, "what's your name, son?"  Bobby answers "Robert James",  Bobby was recruited to play a wounded warrior because he had lost a leg in an accident.  It was a thrill for him. He and the other people who were playing the parts of wounded warriors were the only "extras" that were allowed in the tent with the actors.  He got to meet and talk with all of them, and they were all very kind. 

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