There comes a time in everyone's life where they need to take an unpopular stand. A time when they must turn away from friends and loved ones and defend what they believe to be right. A time when they must counter the scorn hurled by relentless masses, when they must tighten their jaw and stand defiantly alone. You understand, then, how completely devoid of sarcasm I am when I describe the courage it takes to admit that I liked Lincoln.
|I've gotta say--and I understand if you disagree--but I think this Spielberg guy could turn out to be a great director.|
To say that everyone likes it is a bit of an overstatement. There are many who didn't feel as strongly about it--the phrase "Oscar bait" has been thrown more than once--but for the most part, you won't read too many people hating a movie about Abraham Lincoln striking down American slavery, especially if it's directed by Steven Spielberg. Its premise is the very definition of a "safe bet."
For me, though, it was more than just a good movie based on a topic that everyone (at least in mixed company) agrees with. No, for me, it was the perfect storm of really good actors (*cough* Daniel Day-Lewis *cough*) giving really good performances (*cough* Tommy Lee Jones *cough*), great dialogue, an extensive historical setting, and a gripping political drama. It was like Steven Spielberg sat down and said, "Let's make a movie for Brett," and for some reason, everyone else said, "Yeah, okay."
|Seriously, though. This is like my Twilight.|
- For a movie about abolishing slavery, I can only remember--at most--five African-American characters.
- As pointed out by NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, get ready for a lot of pompous white guys saying things like, "What's next--giving women the vote?!"
- While the direction was usually quite good, there are some scenes that seemed to run a little long, or that felt tangential at best. (I actually didn't really notice this one too much, but I have heard it being said by others).
- While certainly humanizing Abraham Lincoln, it doesn't really take any risks with his character.
- If you go into it expecting Lincoln to say, angrily, "I am the President of the United States," then you won't be disappointed. (See below, though--I actually really liked this part).
- Once again, that whole "Oscar bait" thing.
I realize that these are valid points (to varying degrees of validity), but that doesn't change the fact that I was on the edge of my seat watching Congress vote on a bill that anyone who's had an American history class already knows was ratified. Here are a few more of the many reasons why I enjoyed it:
- That time when Abraham Lincoln said, "I am the President of the United States, clothed in immense power," and my arms got all goosebumpy.
- Any time Lincoln quoted a story.
- The politics of it all. I was fascinated to hear Lincoln talking to his cabinet about the legality of the Emancipation Proclamation from a position of federal vs. states' rights, and I found the back-dealing and underhanded measures involved in garnering a majority vote for the proposed amendment thoroughly wonderful.
- The movie has so many actors that I like. Tommy Lee Jones, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field...not to mention David Costabile (a.k.a. Gale from Breaking Bad) and my wife's two favorite actors of all time.
|Thanks to her reaction to these two in the theater, I'm still able to follow Felicia Day on Facebook.|
|Trust me, I know a thing or two about Lincoln movies.|