Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field star in Stephen Spielberg’s new film Lincoln. Centered on the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and encompassing the final four months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life, this movie proves to be deeply moving.
Daniel Day Lewis is exceptional as Abraham Lincoln. Giving life to the man whose passion and conviction created the federalist state we know today, Lewis’ voice and stature are what complete his transformation. Each scene seems natural and honest, and it is difficult not to like his portrayal of our beloved 16th president. In stark contrast, the only two scenes in which the writing felt forced were the first and last scenes with Sally Field, who plays Mary Todd Lincoln. Yet Field still puts her heart and soul into Mrs. Lincoln. Spielberg’s direction gives greater insight into the rumors of her insanity, bringing to light the stresses and burdens she endured as wife to Mr. Lincoln and mother to three boys during a time of war.
However, the truly impeccable performances belong to Tommy Lee Jones and Gloria Reuben. Jones shines as Radical Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. His infamous quick wit and deadpan delivery prove the perfect antidote to the sharp-tongued Democratic Congressman Fernando Wood, as played by Lee Pace. Pace also deserves an honorable mention for his ability to portray well such a contentious character. The scenes between the two characters are full of fire and ripe with wit.
Reuben’s gives a lovely performance as Mrs. Elizabeth Keckley, former slave and Mrs. Lincoln’s personal dressmaker and confidante. Her quiet strength is simply breathtaking, her eyes revealing the depth of her emotions. When she does speak, it is impossible not to listen.
From heated debates and political manipulation to moving speeches and lives impacted, Lincoln is excellent. Spielberg’s direction truly breathes life into Tony Kushner’s script, and the well-timed light moments and laughter make it seem so much more real. However, this so-called biographical war drama certainly has more blockbuster than your typical documentary. The attention to detail is fantastic, as reportedly even the film crew was required to wear period costumes. And in truth, the entire cast should be commended on their performances.
The Blu-ray release of the film includes a number of extra amazing featurettes such as a look at bringing the story to the screen and the historical significance of Richmond, Virginia and why they chose to shoot there. There’s also a look a Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln and re-creating the Lincoln era through production design, costume and makeup.
Lincoln is available on DVD and Blu-ray now!
Review By: Alexandra Pauley