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Old November 16th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #1

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Lincoln, the movie


As a history geek and a movie geek, this was quite a moment. Finally a fully fleshed out movie about Lincoln. I can't imagine an actor wanting to take on such an iconic character, a person who has had so much written about him. If anybody was going to do it, Daniel Day Lewis might be the one. A few observations ---

The whole cast is excellent. Lewis seems like a certain Oscar winner IMO. Other icons of the era, including David Strathairn as Seward, Bruce McGill as Edwin Stanton, Sally Field as the high-strung Mary Lincoln and a special note for Tommy Lee Jones as the eccentric, crusty, bewigged and profane abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens; these characters are all writ large.

The movie is very talky, only a few, short, bloody scenes of battle and its aftermath. Lincoln and his debates with his staff and the epic debate in the House over ratification of the 13th Amendment that freed the slaves have about equal time. At 2 1/2 hours, it's not a short movie, but it is intellectually dense and very much condensed. There's enough content to make a 10 hour movie.

To fully appreciate this movie, it's helpful to NOT go in ignorant. The dialog doesn't suffer idiots or the historically uninformed. These guys were living with epic issues in a historic time where the way forward was anything but clear. Big issues are flying around for the whole 2 1/2 hours.

The movie hints at, but doesn't do much with Lincoln's well documented depressions, but it does definitely illustrate the physical effect of the stress of the war on the man.

The movie stays pretty close to history, so I don't have to tell you what Lincoln's fate is at the end. The finale is very reverent and it's obvious that Speilberg treated this story with high respect. There are light moments (especially the back-room arm twisting by Lincoln's political operatives getting votes in the House), but you can't avoid getting the feeling that he knew he had a responsibility to do it right and really tell the story.

My one reservation about authenticity... as a Chesapeake Bay person…there's a scene where crabs are being eaten and it's obvious that whoever shot that scene has not the slightest idea how to pick a crab.

I'll have to see this one again.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #2

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Glad to hear it. I may wait til next week but I definitely want to see it.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #3

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Excellent review, Skizzerflake.

Looking forward to seeing the film.

--BBF
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:50 PM   #4

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I'm not going to rush out and see this one.
I'll wait to hear what others write about it, not
paid movie critics, but the common man & word
of mouth. I waited to see "The Conspirator" <2010>,
I can wait for this one too.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #5

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Nice write-up Skizzerflake.
I can't wait for this movie, but it's only released in January 2013 in Belgium
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:40 AM   #6

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This is annoying. The UK release is 25th January 2013, I expect the bootleg DVDs to be on sale by then.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 03:30 AM   #7

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Thanks, skizzerflake. That's what I've been waiting to hear. We'll be seeing it next week over Thanksgiving.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #8

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So I've waited 7 years for Lincoln.

Lincoln" will divide it's audience, much like the man. Those ready for a history lesson without explosions, sex or any gags, the movie is a beautiful look at how history is really made. For those looking to be hit over the head with sensory, the movie will be a drag.
That's my initial take.
Needless to say, I adored it.

I believe it was a bit too procedural at times, for a story so large. I thought they could have taken many more risks, and the payoff to the amendment felt a little flat. I'm torn on the last 5 minutes. I won't say much, but it's a debate worth having.

But I would take this movie over most major Hollywood films every single time. It's clear that everyone involved was in love with the man and the story. And any film that turns people on to history, and a worth while film.

The performances were all top notch. The task of making this into a film must have been DAUNTING! So I thought the writing was in most cases pretty great.

I'd love to have more conversation about the film with those who have seen it.
Thoughts on the Stevens reveal?
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Old November 17th, 2012, 09:32 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Lincoln View Post
So I've waited 7 years for Lincoln.

.....Thoughts on the Stevens reveal?
Both aspects of the reveal at the end were so in keeping with his character. The real Stevens had a club foot and had suffered from a disease that made him bald. He was such a grouch, however, that he resented his wig and had it trimmed to the same length all the way around so he didn't have to pay attention to how he put it on.

As for his partner, I don't know if a fact about a 150 year old historic figure is exactly a spoiler, but suffice to say..it was true. Anybody who reads up on the characters before seeing the movie will know what to expect. It added a light touch to all of the tragedy and a parting dimension to the character.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I'm not going to rush out and see this one.
I'll wait to hear what others write about it, not
paid movie critics, but the common man & word
of mouth. I waited to see "The Conspirator" <2010>,
I can wait for this one too.
If you think you would like it, it's only 9 bucks or whatever you pay, no need to wait more than a week or so. I was surprised, though, when I got to my local cineplex a half hour early to find it sold out. We got tickets to the other screen that was showing it a half hour later and that one sold out too by the time it started. Surprisingly; it was a pretty young, largely teen crowd on date night, what I would expect to see at Skyfall or whatever Twilight movie is out now. The rest of the movies in the building didn't have such a line.

I liked The Conspirator, but this is a much bigger movie.
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