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we have just returned from seeing the new Steven Spielberg film, "Lincoln."  It has a superb cast -   Daniel-Day Lewis, David Straithaim, Sally Field, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones.  It is based to a large degree on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, with the script written by playwright Tony Kushner.  It is about politics, about character, about history, focusing on the first few months of 1865 and the attempt to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery through the House of Representatives.  The acting was seamless, and it is likely to receive at least three and maybe more Oscar nominations for acting, as well as for best picture, cinematography, screenplay, music, and directing.  Daniel Day-Lewis does not act Lincoln, he becomes Lincoln, in mannerisms, facial expressions, vocal expressions, etc.  It is as fine an acting performance on the screen as I can remember seeing.  And yet he does not dominate the film  - the performances fit together seamlessly.

It seemed very timely to see it now, so soon after the election.  The issue of race is a major focus of the film, as the issue of race played a major role in our recent politics, especially in the just concluded political campaigns.

Do yourself a favor.

See the film as soon as you can.

Then, maybe you will want to see it again, as we intend to.

You will not be sorry.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Incredible story that NEVER gets tired (13+ / 0-)

    Its really amazing how films, and popular culture in general, never tires of finding new and fascinating ways to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. And we always are drawn in, and no matter how much we think we know, we always learn new things - or even if being told things we already know, still watch or read again, amazed and enraptured.

    Let's hope this film will rinse out the sour taste of "Abraham Lincoln; Vampire Hunter".

    You don't know me, but I'm your brother. I was raised here in this living Hell - you don't know my kind in your world, but fairly soon the time will tell.

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:34:08 PM PST

  •  ....but are there vampires? (6+ / 0-)

    Just kidding. ;)

    This is totally on my list of movies to see next weekend.  

    I'm living in an age that calls darkness light.

    by electricgrendel on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:38:30 PM PST

  •  I'll see any movie with Daniel Day-Lewis in it (11+ / 0-)

    The trailer looked intriguing:

  •  I'll see it next week (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homo neurotic, irishwitch

    at a matinee... Can't wait!



    Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

    by chuckvw on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:55:09 PM PST

  •  Sally Field (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homo neurotic, spooks51, SherwoodB

    Also, I can kill you with my brain.

    by Puffin on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:14:16 AM PST

  •  fixed thanks eom (0+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:53:31 AM PST

  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherwoodB

    I know who will be winning Best Actor at the Oscars....:o)

    The GOP hate me! I'm black, a woman, disabled veteran, divorced mother and liberal. THEY SUCK!

    by secret38b on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:46:36 AM PST

    •  IT will be his Third. And consider this (4+ / 0-)

      assuming Sally Field is nominated for Best Actress and win, she will also join a very small group of people with 3 or more acting Oscars

      Kate Hepburn,  4 best actresses

      Jack Nicholson,  2 Best Actors, 1 supporting Actor

      Ingrid Bergman,  2 Best Actress, 1 supporting Actress

      Meryl Streep, 2 Best Actress, 1 supporting Actress

      Walter Brennan, 3 best supporting actor

      Do not however assume that Day-Lewis is guaranteed, since I am hearing rave reviews for Denzel Washington in Flight - it would be his 3rd Oscar should he win

      I think, however, it would be very hard to top Day-Lewis's performance in this film.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:05:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Living in Richmond, (4+ / 0-)

    where much of this movie was filmed, I can't wait to see it.  Unfortunately, we have to wait until next week.  With all the local excitement, you'd think they would have given us an early peek, too.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:05:31 AM PST

    •  I did recognize some of your scenary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomNonviolence

      having spent enough time in Richmond in the past few decades to be familiar with certain buildings and facades

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:06:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting timing of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, cocinero, irishwitch

    release of the movie, after the re-election of the first African American President, and an election campaign which stank with the rot of racism.

    Kathleen Sebelius 2016

    by pvlb on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:21:37 AM PST

  •  Teacherken can you tell me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon

    about the violence level in the movie?

    I read a review that said to take the young people in your family to this movie when you go and I have a granddaughter who is interested in history but she has been pretty protected from media that is violent. I am wondering how intense the violent images might be regarding the war and slavery?

    •  It's rated PG-13 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueDragon

      I found this in the user reviews on IMDB - there is no parent's guide up for it yet, but I think once it's in general release that will be updated, if it's necessary.  

      "If you're expecting to see large-scale, graphic depictions of Civil War battles, you may be disappointed. The film is loosely based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." It covers Lincoln's final months as he juggles the seemingly impossible task of passing the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery and trying to end the Civil War."
      I didn't read the spoilers, so I don't know if the move goes all the way to Ford's Theatre and the assassination - Teacherken will be able to tell us if that is graphically portrayed or not.  

      More IMDB user reviews at the link:

      http://www.imdb.com/...

      "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

      by Ricochet67 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:22:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  there is not that much visible violence (4+ / 0-)

      there certainly is some in the opening scene

      and there are several other scenes with disturbing images -  Robert Lincoln at a military hospital, Lincoln going through the aftermath of Petersburg

      there is also some language that is appropriately coarse

      I would think that anyone from 12-13 up can handle what is in this film, but I am not sure anyone 9 or younger should see it.  In  between it depends upon the maturity of the child and the willingness of the parents to talk candidly after viewing it.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:31:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's the history.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...of our country! There was violence. Why hide the truth? It's not Halo 5 it's Abraham Lincoln. Sorry rant over...

      "Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue."

      by bradreiman on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:47:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't wait to see it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, 207wickedgood, SherwoodB

    I was hoping it would be in early release here for Veteran's Day, but we have to wait until next weekend.  

    My son is anxiously waiting for it to show in Ontario, he's a huge Lincoln enthusiast and Civil War history buff.  

    The cast is unbeatable and the prep work that DDL put into becoming Lincoln is the reason he does so few movies - he puts everything he has into them.  

    I've watched Last of the Mohicans about 100 times, he's just so damn good in that.  I know his Lincoln will be 10 times better.  

    Thanks for the preview, Teacherken!  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:30:51 AM PST

  •  I have not been out to a movie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Illinois IRV, SherwoodB, Remediator

    in many years.  I may have to do so now because I'm sure I just can't wait for the DVD to see this one.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:41:08 AM PST

    •  Nowadays I also rarely go out (5+ / 0-)

      but this was one I did not want to wait to see.  I am very glad I went on the first day.

      In the past two decades I have only two other times gone to a movie on the day it premiered.  One was Sicko, for which we had to drive to NJ to find a theater showing it.  The other was to go to the first showing to the public in DC of Saving Private Ryan.  I was the only one under 70 in the theater.  Several of the men there had served on D-Day (I spoke with them afterward) and for one the opening sequence was simply too much -  he had to leave the theater for a while to compose himself.

      There is a bit of that in the opening sequence of this film, but neither as long nor at least to my mind quite so graphic.   There is then an immediate transition to Lincoln talking with ordinary soldiers in a scene with great power.  One of the soldiers in that scene, a Negro corporal, has an important visual moment later in the film that was striking.

      I was too tired when I put the diary up to say all I perhaps should have.

      We see politics as it was.

      We see the real disputes between those who would have been satisfied merely to end the war and those for whom ending slavery was a moral mandate.  We see Lincoln as a politician, a husband and father, a moral leader, a person of great humanity.

      There are small but telling moments -  Lincoln in the War Department seemingly sleeping as someone waits for instructions on a telegram, his hands curling in a fashion that inevitably reminds one of the great Daniel French statue in the Memorial;  Lincoln with an ability to tell a folksy story to make a point;  Lincoln able to cajole, to persuade, to speak forcefully.

      I do not want to describe too much, lest it lessen the impact of seeing the film the first time.  I say the first time because I suspect many will be like me, and definitely want to see it more than once.

      Day-Lewis IS Lincoln.  Yes, there are prosthetics use to provide the familiar profile, but there are mannerisms, body movement, facial expressions  .  it is an incredible performance.

      I think of the truly great film performances that stand out in my mind.  One that did not win an Oscar was Robert Duvall in "Apostle."   Linda Hunt as Billy Kwan in "Year of Living Dangerously."  Ben Kingsley in "Gandhi."  tom Hanks in both of his Oscar-winning performances.   Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice."   Others as well.

      This stands with all of them, and may in fact outshine them.

      And trust me, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln is almost as superb.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:55:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We plan to go next weekend. We've (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gordon20024

    watched the trailer on-line.  It's so good we'd have paid full ticket price just for that.  

    Agree -- this is a great film choice in the aftermath of this particular national election.  

  •  What about historical accuracy? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon, SherwoodB

    There have been historical movies that are very loose with the truth (ie: JFK comes to mind) and others that are very accurate (like Apollo 13).  So is the Lincoln movie historically accurate or what?

    •  I have not seen serious criticisms yet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sweettp2063

      it is after all based largely on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book, and she served as a consultant to the film.

      Are some events fictionalized?  Absolutely.  This is after all a dramatization.

      One thing that historians say is spot on is how Day-Lewis does Lincoln's voice and accent.

      There are terrific small details -  there is a scene with an ordinary couple from Missouri meeting with the President over a question of who was entitled to own a particular toll station -  Presidents did meet with ordinary people, and as they leave you can see the crowds waiting to get in to see him.  

      That there was serious interest in just ending the war and to hell with whether slavery was abolished is absolutely accurate -  in 1864 the Northern Dems had run Gen. George B. McClellan against Lincoln, and if you look at things like Frank Leslie's Weekly or Harper's Illustrated, you will see political cartoons which supported the idea of making peace with the South without insisting upon abolition.  

      I am sure there are things on which some historians will take issue.  I saw nothing really glaringly distorted, although it has been several decades since I seriously studied the period.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:11:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, here is a link for an examination (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sweettp2063

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:56:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        Read the article at the link you provided and it seems like the movie is fairly accurate.  My knowledge of Lincoln mostly comes from documentries on PBS and would not see the movie if it was not mostly historically correct.  Of course a few liberties would be taken especially concerning dialogue as has been done in other historical movies like Apollo 13 and Gettysburg.  Glad it's not a complete distortion of history as in JFK.  Now I am certainly going to see the movie.

  •  how does it handle lincoln's reluctance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pdxteacher

    to see 'negroes' as part of our country and how he changed his mind?

    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

    by BlueDragon on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:45:44 AM PST

    •  it is dealing with Lincoln in 1865 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueDragon

      by which time he was clear in his mind of the necessity of getting rid of slavery, and his understanding that the Emancipation was insufficient legally.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:12:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'd call that a serious weakness (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pdxteacher

        which feeds into the master narrative which awards Lincoln hero status.

        those of you who are interested in an alternative view can check out this Mother Jones article.

        i adore daniel day lewis and have respect for Spielberg although i am fully aware of his gloss, as in what is called 'the Spielberg sheen,' literally the focus he uses on his cameras to convey a romantic quality (full disclosure: i am a romantic myself).

        but continuing to foster an uncritical view of Lincoln does our country no good.

        i will certainly see this film.

        but it is long past the time when we should be able to see a film which depicts Lincoln in all his complexity.

        Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

        by BlueDragon on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:27:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  this movie was embarrassingly bad (0+ / 0-)

    it came of as saccharine, simplistic, and preachy.

    all the reviews i read talked about how the film takes an unvarnished look at history, and presents all the complexities of lincolns presidency. which is utter rubbish. it was basically an uplifting comedy about those wacky rogues in the house of representatives, with the pensive, virtuous, but oh-so-complex lincoln maneuvering behind the scenes.

    in 2012 basically anyone who knows even a little bit about history knows that the movement to abolish slavery was not always motivated by the purest intentions. i mean, they teach this in elementary school at this point. so just showing some of this, in the most simplistic and symbolic terms, is hardly a ground breaking look at american history that deserves any sort of credit. on the contrary, this movie was simplistic and preachy and felt like something the war department would have put out in 1943. i kept waiting for james cagney to come tap dancing down the stairs to yankee doodle dandy. i mean, if you want to illustrate all the complexities of a presidents thinking and key decisions, then just do it. dont clarify that reality by literally having the president say how complex his decisions have to be. this was the approach the screenplay took.

    i assumed that a film with daniel day lewis playing lincoln was going to be dark and gritty and, above all INTENSE. i mean, its not like the actual, historical material on which the film is based in anything less. and yet, the film itself was none of those things. and the ending? GOOD LORD, the ending. i dont think ive ever seen anything more shlocky in my life. holy moly. i was only moderately annoyed until "now. . . he belongs to the ages," followed by the dissolve-into-the-candle piece of glossy melodrama, at which point i actively came to hate it.

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