Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a must-see movie sure to bring the legend from Mount Rushmore to relatable President. Not only is a Daniel Day Lewis a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination, but the only shocker would be if he didn’t win the award. Lincoln, the movie, takes the audience into the trenches of Washington politics, where our 16th President is forced to make decisions that balance legal and moral issues.

Lincoln movie review

Lincoln movie review

The movie tells the story of the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. This is the time in the President’s life where he strongly wants to pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. Like any historical movie, the audience knows how it will end, but that doesn’t affect the drama and nail-biting it takes to get us to that ending.

Lincoln is faced with the dilemma of negotiating an end to the war or passing the 13th Amendment. It appears quite obvious by his many supporters that he can’t have both. Dropping the fight for amendment could be a negotiation tool and leverage to quickly ending the war. This struggle between saving the lives of more soldiers and the moral obligation of the abolition slavery is the core of Lincoln’s turmoil.

Although, ‘Lincoln’ has several horrific battle scenes, or rather post-battle scenes, the real battles are in politics. Those who believe that political name-calling and mudslinging are a modern invention, need only look at the discourse in Washington during our Lincoln’s time.

Much of that discourse was led by Thaddeus Stevens, played remarkably by Tommy Lee Jones. Stevens was a leading abolitionist and apparently the only character that actually believed blacks and whites are equal. In fact, Stevens believes that the 13th amendment din not go far enough. However, Lincoln needs to take this in baby steps. Equality will come later, but for now abolishment of slavery. It’s in the later part of the film that we really get to know this Pennsylvania congressman even more. Tommy Lee Jones takes on his best performance to date as Stevens, decked out in a black wig and walking slowly with a cane. This performance is sure to garner Jones a best supporting actor nomination.

A great supporting case as well included Lincoln’s close advisor and Secretary of State William Seward (played by David Strathairn), Plus, Lincoln pulls in group of “strong-arm” lobbyist that show Lincoln would almost do anything to pass this amendment, the least of which involves exchanging jobs for votes.

But as great as the supporting cast was, Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln is remarkable. He makes all other actors look like actors, but for us Lewis is Lincoln. He is at a different level than every other actor. His performance is Oscar-worthy indeed. Spielberg and Lewis do a great job in making Abraham Lincoln seem human, while still allowing him to keep that legendary status on the top of Mount Rushmore.

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