It’s a great big epic with stunning period details that are glorious to watch. It features lots of fabulous performances.
The Stratford Picturehouse was packed with an audience that was enthralled. Quite a lot of people described this as the most enjoyable film they had seen in a long time. They thought it was the best Steven Spielberg film ever.
I am not convinced. I enjoyed it, but with reservations. It’s yet another very long film, at 150 minutes.
On the plus side, Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field will deserve their Oscars for extraordinary performances as Abraham and Mary Lincoln.
For me, too much historic detail is airbrushed or just plain wrong. Where are the black activists who worked tirelessly to force the ending of slavery? They are completely absent.
According to “Lincoln”, it’s all Honest Abe’s work and he gets it all done in just a few months, at the end of his life.
Tony Kushner’s script has that annoyingly talkie feeling of people just preaching at you all the time. Often, characters are very loud and shouting. I got the feeling that Abe was giving a very long sermon and I was stuck in the middle of the front pew.
There are battle vignettes that will amaze you with their depth and drama. An early dream sequence is one of the prettiest and glowing scenes I have ever seen on film.
I never really warmed to “Lincoln” or felt much. Even the music felt cloying, like it was screaming about its own importance for no good reason.
Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn and Hal Holbrook all have super moments of humour and pathos. David Oyelowo has an effective but brief scene. Young Gulliver McGrath is just plain loveable as Tad Lincoln.
It will appeal most to those Americans who long for simpler times and clearer issues.
Despite so many superb performances and an excellent period feel, the awful errors with history spoil this, for me. The less American Civil War history you know, the happier you will be in watching this. Maybe Abe should have stuck to vampire hunting.