Lincoln (2012)

Interesting fact: Abraham Lincoln is recognisable by his silhouette alone, a characteristic he shares with other cultural icons such as Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Sonic The Hedgehog and Michael Jackson.

Hmm very worthy,  but surely this is boring? Well the opening section is dark, gloomy and heavy going without much reward. I stopped watching 2 films early before this (Step Up 4 : Miami Heat and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and this almost became the third. Stick with it though and things do get much more interesting and emotional as Lincoln struggles to gather support for the 13th Amendment (which abolishes slavery).

Is Daniel Day Lewis any good with an axe? Er.. You are thinking of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. It is true that the real Lincoln was very handy with an axe in his younger years. This film however is focused on a much later part of his life. He must balance the need to sign a peace agreement with the South (and end the bloody civil war) with his desire to end slavery – which if it happens could stop the South agreeing to peace terms – meaning thousands more dead. It’s a tough and tricky time for him, and there are no vampires!

So is this better film that Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter? You are obsessed with that film. Yes it’s better (2 points better) but that film was more digestible and enjoyable. Daniel Day Lewis is very good as Lincoln, managing to portray him in advanced age especially well. A lot of actors will end up looking like a young man wearing an ‘old man’ outfit. They miss the unsteadiness, and the slower movements of the eyes and body of an older person. A notable bad point about this film however is that Spielberg tries to be clever in the way he shows Abe’s death (it’s not a spoiler to say that Lincoln was shot while watching a play). It’s shown in an indirect way, which means you don’t see Abe being shot at all and as a result you don’t feel much when he dies – which is a shame.

Should I watch this then? It’s very long… There’s no reason why you should. You could easily learn more about Lincoln by reading a couple of pages in a book, and the image of him portrayed here is of a very righteous, clever, almost saintly man. It’s possible he really was like that, although it’s doubtful any man could be. Overall though it’s a good film. It’s just heavy going at times.

Give me the score!


Hmm, I think I might watch Star Trek Into Darkness instead. It has laser guns..


  1. Good post! This is a very slow gloomy watch! Never seen it from start to finish always parts and bits.

  2. richmov said:

    Thanks Liam, yes is heavy going, I couldn’t imagine actually going to a cinema to see it on release.

  3. Finally, someone else who thought this movie wasn’t such great shakes either though I thought it wasn’t that good for other reasons. Good point on how they depicted Lincoln here, everyone I’ve talked to whose recommended me this film told me that it shows Lincoln as a flawed human being and not the saint-like individual people would expect, except in this movie he’s still sort of portrayed that way. It would have been more interesting if this movie took place just before the war where Lincoln suspended habeus corpus; I think that would not only have shown a different side to Lincoln but make it an interesting film about ethical choices. And I thought Daniel-Day Lewis wasn’t all that great either, I never got a sense of who Lincoln really was to be honest, but this might be more due to the script instead. And that ending was horrid.

    • richmov said:

      I agree, and intersting comments. I think Spielberg used the story with Lincoln and his wife and the loss of their child to show his more human/flawed side and a lot of people/critics seemed to think that was enough. But for me that didn’t take away from how unrealistically wise and perfect he seemed the rest of the time. It does seem that quite often with these type of films that are half-decent and more mature in tone, that that critics get carried away a bit with their praise sadly.

      • I think that’s about right, Lincoln is basically just “Oscar Bait” and critics fell for it. I think they also gave too much focus on what the movie wasn’t rather than what it actually was. And I think Daniel-Day Lewis’ portrayal wasn’t much more than mimicry. It shows that if you’ve got the right elements critics are eager to praise, even if what they’re praising isn’t much more than mediocrity.

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