Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lincoln (2012)


Year: 2012
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Before I begin my review….

                It’s getting close! Less than two weeks to go till the 85th Academy Awards! The countdown is on and I am getting to the point where I feel as though I can start to make informed predictions about who I believe will take home the big awards.

So we have our sixth nominated film to be reviewed, Lincoln. I think everyone, including me, knows that this film has at least one guaranteed Oscar.

Lincoln is nominated for a massive 12 Academy Awards. I can tell you with complete certainty that it will not be walking away with all 12. It is nominated for Best Picture as well as Best Director for Steven Spielberg. I’m not completely convinced that this is the year’s Best Picture winner. Following all the other award nights, I have an idea which film may be having its name engraved in one of the pillars lining the Dolby Theatre (once the Kodak Theatre)stairs, and Lincoln will be a major surprise if it leapfrogs over that film to take the big one.

However, Spielberg wouldn’t be completely out of line if he let it be known that he is preparing his acceptance speech. We all know he is a brilliant director, he has exhibited this numerous times. Lincoln once again exhibits how brilliant a director he really is. I believe he is the front runner in this category.

Tommy Lee Jones took home the Screen Actor’s Guild award for Best Supporting Actor and he is very deserving. However, he does have tough competition from Christoph Waltz. My personal opinion is that Waltz has just that little bit more than Jones and should be taking home the award. The Best Supporting Actor category is a tough category this year, there have been some fantastic performances this year.

Poor Sally Field (if you can say that, she’s had a pretty damn good career thus far). Anyone who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress this year is pretty much ruled out of the equation with Anne Hathaway the front runner. If Hathaway didn’t give the performance she had in Les Miserables, I believe Field would have been the front runner instead.

And then…we have Daniel Day-Lewis. Yes he is brilliant and yes, he will win his third Academy Award. Now this is a big thing. There are only five people who have won three acting Oscars in history, including Katharine Hepburn who has actually won four. It looks like Day-Lewis will be the sixth to join this coveted group.

Review

There is no doubt the Steven Spielberg is a great director. There is no doubt that Daniel Day-Lewis is an amazing actor. So there was really no doubt about whether Lincoln was going to be a success.

Lincoln is a film which is very well made and acted, but the fact remains, it is a film which will mean more to you if you are American. It is a great history lesson for those who only know the basics about Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, but there is a lack of emotion which you really want to feel for this great man.

Lincoln focuses primarily on Abraham Lincoln’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) final presidential years when he was instrumental in abolishing slavery. The passing of the amendment in the House of Representatives is covered in depth and shows what went on behind closed doors in order to make sure the outcome that Lincoln strived for was achieved. Away from politics, Lincoln also shows how strained his private life was during these years. His wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) struggles with their middle son’s death years before and their oldest son, Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) struggles with trying to win his father’s affection and at the same time, become his own person.

Spielberg once again proves that he is an amazing story teller. He goes through the passing of the amendment in such detail that if you didn’t know much about Lincoln and the civil war before, you will feel as if you know everything when you leave the cinema. He does go through it in such detail that it can make the film a bit slow and also make it a tad boring in certain parts. You can understand why Spielberg has tried to include all this as he wants you to exactly know step by step how and why this amendment was passed. It is part of Spielberg’s job as a storyteller to entertain as well as inform, and he ensures he gives you the best history lesson he possibly can.

The main thing missing from Lincoln is the emotion in the film. You come out of the film thinking about how you have just seen a good film, but you are not over-whelmed in the way you are when you have seen a great film. There are so many great things about Lincoln, but it lacks the ‘wow’ factor and the ability to make the audience connect on an emotional level. It is not for lack of wanting or trying either. Lincoln is such a heroic historical figure that you want nothing more than to cry at his successes and failures. however, thi

However, Americans may have a greater emotional connection to this film as it is part of their history and it is a film which they will be able to relate to. For those who are not American may not have this emotional connection for this reason.

Don’t be alarmed, there is plenty to marvel at in this film. Visually it is a brilliant recreation of Civil War torn America. There is some beautiful cinematography, such as the depiction of Lincoln’s dream and Lincoln’s final speech.

Yet, it is the acting in Lincoln that truly makes the film. It is impossible to see anyone ever playing Abraham Lincoln again and being quite as convincing as Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis, who is known for becoming his characters on and off screen when making a movie, is the great man. Lincoln is surely looking down from Heaven and smiling on Day-Lewis. He does him so much justice and from what we know about Lincoln that has been carried down through the years, he is the absolute embodiment of him.

Sally Field is also incredible. Her performance is so heartfelt and shows a wife and mother who has given everything to her family.

Tommy Lee Jones is also brilliant as Thaddeus Stevens. It’s a strong performance and one with so much charisma.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not on screen for a tremendous amount of time, but for the time which he is, he is very good. He has one particular scene with Day-Lewis when he shows that he has it in him to become one of the greats in the years to come.

Lincoln is a wonderful history lesson, but misses that emotional chord that would make it a great.

7.5/10

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