It’s fairly widely accepted that Abraham Lincoln was one of the best pesidents that the United States has seen. So there are, understandingly, high expectations when Steven Spielberg decided to make a film about the highly respected man who was shockingly assassinated just as the Civil War was ending. Spielberg’s Lincoln casts acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role.
Lincoln isn’t a full biopic. Instead, it focuses on a period of several months as the president worked to get the US House of Representatives to pass the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery. While we all know that the amendment gets passed, the story of just how it got passed is fascinating and even a bit thrilling at times. But Lincoln is also a family man and his wife and two sons are forever present during his days at the White House.
For a modern audience, Lincoln can be difficult to digest. History has forgotten many of the names and politicians depicted in the film. While we hold Lincoln, the man, with great reverence, the film works awfully hard to convince you how great he was and it comes across preachy. Add to that the stylistic option of casting a dark filter on the film that, at times, obscures everything including the eyes of the actors. What it all adds up to is a long, slow film that shows an interesting and historic story in a rather dull and somewhat confusing way.