Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LINCOLN, THE MOVIE (contains spoilers)

Stunning achievement all the way around, but most especially Daniel Day Lewis.

I question the use of contemporary-sounding language.   And the use of so much slang profanity for 1865?

I question the African-Americans being in the gallery of Congress at that time.  And most enlightening was the argument that freedom for the slaves did not mean they were also created equal.  And what a powerful statement when Lincoln tells his wife's personal maid, "I really don't know your people."

And Lincoln's torment resulting from his duty as Commander-In-Chief having to send all those boys to their deaths just tears your heart out, especially in Lewis' quiet understated performance.

John Williams' score owes a great debt to Ken Burns and Aaron Copland. No revelations there.

Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones both give workman-like fine performances of roles which really are actor-proof. No great revelation there.  Lewis was astounding.  What an accomplishment!

I thought the film had several false endings. From the theatre scene on was superfluous and unnecessary.  When Lewis throws the gloves down and walks out the door to the theare to his death was the perfect place to end the film. What a moment because we know what is going to happen.  And we don't need to see it.

And it is amazing how Lincoln's struggles with Congress so mirrored Obama's today.  The script is genius.  And quite funny in many places. It is a treatise on Washington politics.

And the one thing I must mention is how Lincoln refused to consider the Confederate states as a nation.  And it colored all his dealings with making peace. He refuses to negotiate because they are not a nation.  And he demands complete immediate surrender. And when they do surrender, he orders Lee not to hold any prisoners and tells the Secretary of State not to punish the Confederate States at all and to do everything possible to help restore them and bring them back into the Union.

And if he had not died, the South would not have had the horrible economic century it had.
I can't image Lewis, Tony Kushner and perhaps Jones will not receive every award available.

I sat in the theatre and wept at the genius of this film.  You will not be disappointed.

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