As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
What I thought of it:
This is hotly tipped to be a contender for a whole slew of Oscar nominations, including Best Film and Best Actor, possibly with a Best Director thrown in, so expectations are high.
As you’d expect when you have a two-time Best Actor Oscar-winning leading man, Daniel Day-Lewis turns in a stellar performance. Unfortunately, any time he raised his voice, all I could hear was Cameron in Ferris Beueller’s Day Off doing his best “Mr Peterson” impression on the telephone to fool the headmaster. Close your eyes and you’ll hear it too. There’s no doubt that physically he looks the part, and his performance credentials are impeccable, so I do think he’ll get the nominations, although it’s too soon to call whether he’ll win.
For me, the best character was Thaddeus Stevens, played to the hilt by Tommy Lee Jones. His portrayal of a man ahead of his time in terms of equality and political endeavors was nothing short of brilliant.
There are lots of small but important roles for many familiar faces (I was pleased to see James Spader, who was pretty darned good!), but with this film, the star factor takes back seat to the writing, of which, in my opinion, there is just too much.
Anecdote after anecdote is related by Mr Lincoln, until eventually one of his colleagues leaves saying that he cannot stomach listening to another one. By that time, neither could I. The script was just far to verbose for my tastes. Lengthy monologues abound amidst not an awful lot of much else. Don’t get me wrong, I love exquisite monologues and witty exchanges as much as the next person (I’m a HUGE fan of Shakespeare!), but I found myself getting bored for increasingly lengthy periods as the film progressed and it just felt weighted down with worthiness.
It’s a fascinating period of history and Lincoln is possibly one of the most intriguing, and certainly best-loved President the USA has ever had, but I get the feeling this was made almost exclusively for an American audience, and 150 minutes of Presidential ramblings may be a little lost on other countries.
Good, but nowhere near as good as I expected from a film being haled as a major contender in the Oscars.