HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Is ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 06:45 AM

Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Is Honestly Good

This looks and sounds honestly great; I may have to go to the movies!

Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Is Honestly Good


Posted on Nov 9, 2012


Screenshot of movie poster

By Richard Schickel


snip//

Spielberg was, at the time, mildly dyslexic, but he found that his reading troubles disappeared when the subject was Lincoln. Perhaps he didn’t fully realize it at the time—any more than he realized he was going to be a film director—but an obsession was born. Now, after almost 60 years, his obsession has at last borne fruit: “Lincoln” is upon us and it is close to being a great film—beautifully acted, sober in intent and, above all, a passion project that represents an unwavering, virtually lifelong, commitment to an enterprise that is not, on its face, a natural screen subject despite the many Lincoln films over the years.

snip//

The topic became narrowly focused: The film is chiefly about Lincoln’s attempt to pass the Emancipation Proclamation. And a lot of its glory derives from the fact that it grants the issue’s full complexity. Politically, it is a vexing matter, and the movie utterly refuses to simplify it. We have to attend its arguments very carefully. Yet—and this is very much to its credit—they are clearly stated. I cannot readily summon up another movie that deals with an issue, now fairly obscure except to historians specializing in this field, with greater force of detail. Or passion. These people—notably Lincoln—care about this matter and their passion is clarifying. They do not get lost in their arguments and neither do we.

That has a lot to do with the acting, notably Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln. Research has taught him that Lincoln had a rather high, thin voice. The noble resonances and bearing of, say, Raymond Massey are not for him, and this naturalism is a huge, humanizing aid to his characterization. He can, for example, easily tell a funny story and there is no patronizing about it. He is likable, but never seems to be using us for our favor when the mood for drollery overtakes him.

Yet there is steel in the man. He will have what he must have, and what the country must have, in his judgment, and he beavers away tirelessly to assert his will on his “Team of Rivals,” to quote the title of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, which is one of the film’s sources. His work is unforced, even easeful at times. It is a great performance, yet one that never once admits that it is going for greatness.

The same may be said for Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. It is, more or less by common consent, a thankless role but not in Field’s playing. She is much more helpmate than termagant, a woman of spirit, passion and—who would have guessed?—an affectionate nature. At least in this telling, all is well with the Lincoln marriage and the movie is the better for it. Honest Abe had enough troubles without adding a difficult marriage to the list.

What can be said of Field can be said of the rest of the cast—David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook and, most notably, Tommy Lee Jones as a marvelously bumptious Thaddeus Stevens. You could argue—fatuously, I think—that this bold performance is out of key with the rest of the picture, but Jones is on it when it comes to a wayward and hilarious life that goes a long way toward rescuing the film from the danger of being merely earnest and high-minded.

more...

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/spielbergs_lincoln_is_honestly_good_20121109/

52 replies, 3068 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 52 replies Author Time Post
Reply Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Is Honestly Good (Original post)
babylonsister Nov 2012 OP
Cooley Hurd Nov 2012 #1
babylonsister Nov 2012 #2
WCGreen Nov 2012 #34
MrMickeysMom Nov 2012 #43
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #3
babylonsister Nov 2012 #4
vaberella Nov 2012 #5
babylonsister Nov 2012 #9
vaberella Nov 2012 #21
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #23
vaberella Nov 2012 #30
RomneyLies Nov 2012 #6
ananda Nov 2012 #7
babylonsister Nov 2012 #8
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #24
TuxedoKat Nov 2012 #38
Romulox Nov 2012 #10
babylonsister Nov 2012 #11
Romulox Nov 2012 #12
babylonsister Nov 2012 #13
Romulox Nov 2012 #14
babylonsister Nov 2012 #16
Romulox Nov 2012 #17
babylonsister Nov 2012 #18
Romulox Nov 2012 #20
Bucky Nov 2012 #27
Romulox Nov 2012 #36
Bucky Nov 2012 #44
Romulox Nov 2012 #46
Bucky Nov 2012 #47
Romulox Nov 2012 #48
Romulox Nov 2012 #52
Gabi Hayes Nov 2012 #15
WCGreen Nov 2012 #35
Gabi Hayes Nov 2012 #49
WCGreen Nov 2012 #50
Ron Green Nov 2012 #19
trumad Nov 2012 #39
Ron Green Nov 2012 #51
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #22
Bucky Nov 2012 #25
pinto Nov 2012 #26
chelsea0011 Nov 2012 #28
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #31
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #29
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #32
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #42
Blue_In_AK Nov 2012 #45
ailsagirl Nov 2012 #33
fightthegoodfightnow Nov 2012 #37
liberal_at_heart Nov 2012 #40
flamingdem Nov 2012 #41

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 06:56 AM

1. I'm meeting Doris Kearns Goodwin on Thursday...

"Lincoln" is based on her book Team Of Rivals (which is a GREAT book - probably her best!) and my company is sponsoring a lecture and a Meet & Greet afterwards. Needless to say, I'm psyched!!!!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 07:05 AM

2. Hey you, good morning! I do like her; Kearns Goodwin and her book

were mentioned in this review. Excellent for you!

I think I need to read that AND see this movie.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:36 PM

34. It really is a great book, one that should be read to enhance any American History

program...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:24 PM

43. I'm trying to finish Team Of Rivals, which I've nursed all year long...

Not because I don't find it interesting - I very much DO, but because of how busy I am.

I friend from whom I borrowed the book said recently, "You should finish it soon because the movie is coming out... and you don't want to have the end spoiled, do you?" It was a LOL moment.

I'll probably see it, and if you could carry a message to Kearns Goodwin, it's "Bravo!" I'm really "living" history's characters through her hand.

Have a great time.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 07:37 AM

3. This movie looks amazing!

I need to try to scrape up a few pesos to go and see it. And thanks upthread for telling me about the Kearns book. I'm looking it up on my e-reader as we speak.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:57 AM

4. I agree; I see about one movie a year; this is it! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:58 AM

5. really? Even with Tommy Lee Jones' crazy looking wig? n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to vaberella (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:09 AM

9. Didn't a lot of people wear crazy-looking

wigs back in the day?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:23 PM

21. Actually Tommy Lee Jones looks just like that emoticon.

The wing really through me off. It's jet black with his super wrinkly skin.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to vaberella (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:41 PM

23. But his character does make light of it

and there's a wonderful scene toward the end of the movie where he removes it. I won't give spoilers.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:17 PM

30. Oh cool...ready to watch now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:59 AM

6. I simply cannot wait to see this film n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:59 AM

7. It gets here in January.

I do plan to see it then for sure!

This Tuesday I'm going to see Argo.
It has Alan Arkin in it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:08 AM

8. Argo is another one that has piqued my interest;

it also got great reviews. Pls. let me know what you think of it!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:43 PM

24. Another really great movie.

You'll be sitting on the edge of your seat.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:37 PM

38. Just saw it tonight

It was great. Be sure to stay after the movie ends as they show photos of all the real people and events and Pres. Carter speaks about the mission too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:11 AM

10. Was Lincoln *truly* a dedicated abolitionist? I always got the idea that

Lincoln was motivated by political expediency more than anything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:20 AM

11. According to this, he didn't think he was.

I really need to read a good bio on him, but wiki has a fairly in-depth summary.

Abraham Lincoln's position on slavery was one of the central issues in American history.

Abraham Lincoln often expressed moral opposition to slavery in both public and private. Initially, Lincoln expected to bring about the eventual extinction of slavery by stopping its further expansion into any U.S. territory, and by proposing compensated emancipation (an offer Congress applied to Washington, D.C) in his early presidency. Lincoln stood by the Republican Party platform in 1860, which stated that slavery should not be allowed to expand into any more territories. Lincoln believed that the extension of slavery in the South, Mid-west, and Western lands would inhibit "free labor on free soil". In the 1850's, Lincoln was politically attacked as an abolitionist, but he did not consider himself one; he did not call for the immediate end of slavery everywhere in the U.S. until the proposed 13th Amendment became part of his party platform for the 1864 election.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_and_slavery

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:36 AM

12. Lincoln also supported the "Corwin Amendment":

Corwin Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the 36th Congress, 2nd Session, on March 2, 1861, in the form of House (Joint) Resolution No. 80. It would forbid subsequent attempts to amend the Constitution to empower the Congress to "abolish or interfere" with the "domestic institutions" of the states, including "persons held to labor or service" (a reference to slavery).


Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, said of the Corwin Amendment:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....olding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_Amendment


NOT a hero.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:58 AM

13. I'm not looking for a hero; he was a man, and imperfect.

I'm interested in learning more about him, and the environment of that day and age where he could write The Emancipation Proclamation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:25 AM

14. The promos I've seen from the film are filled with bromides about "doing the right thing".

Lincoln defended slavery as "implicit in the constitution" (a tortured reading, at best.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #14)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:37 AM

16. So don't go see it; what can I say? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:47 AM

17. Sorry, I thought this was a discussion forum. I won't trouble you any further by interjecting

any troubling factual information.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:51 AM

18. You're determined to diss it without even seeing the movie, so

I have no comeback to that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:09 AM

20. I just wanted to know if the previews, which present this as a hagiography, are accurate.

It's a valid question/line of discussion. Sheesh.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:54 PM

27. Lincoln evolved on the issue of slavery. What he said in 1858 changed by 1861....

and then what he was advocating in 1862 (abolishing slavery in the rebellious areas the army didn't even control) changed within a year and a half again to his full voiced support for eradicating slavery with the 13th. Part of his heroism was embracing a new idea when it wasn't easy to embrace it, but when the time was ripe, just as the country too was becoming ready for a more radical break from the past.

Just because he was complicated, and politic, doesn't mean he wasn't heroic. He wasn't a fanatic on an issue where (1) fanaticism would be thoroughly justifed, but where (2) being fanatically anti-slavery would have undermined his and the country's eventual victory over the Bourbon Slaveocracy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bucky (Reply #27)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:11 PM

36. The quote in support of the Corwin Amendment was from Lincoln's first inaugural address in 1861.

Lincoln's first inaugural address was delivered March 4, 1861.

In it, he spoke in direct support of an amendment to the constitution "to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with...persons held to service." Again, this was on March 4, 1861.

So the "evolution" was slow, if at all.


I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres31.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #36)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:10 AM

44. No, seriously...

read a biography of Lincoln. How he felt about slavery in 1861 was not how he felt in 1862 when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, which was not how he felt in 1864 when the 13th Amendment was proposed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bucky (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:09 PM

46. *You* mentioned the alleged evolution of Lincoln by 1861. When I pointed out your mistake,

you demand *I* read a biography?

How about *you* acknowledge your error?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Romulox (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:01 PM

47. I said there was evolution along four points in Lincoln's timeline (58, 61, 62, and 64)

Really, it seems like you're just looking for a fight. Lighten up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bucky (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:06 PM

48. I find it impossible to believe that a 52 year old man could change his opinion about whether or not

it was morally, legally, or otherwise humanly acceptable to own a human being in a mere 365 days time.

"Really, it seems like you're just looking for a fight."

*You* stepped in to the subthread. If you have a counterpoint to the above, I'd love to hear it. Just saying "read a bio" isn't an argument, though.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bucky (Reply #47)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:49 AM

52. Didn't think you had much of an argument.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:30 AM

15. gore vidal's Lincoln is definitely worth reading

sections were emotionally wrenching

will see movie, then retread GV book

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gabi Hayes (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:43 PM

35. Did you fallow the other Vidal books....

Burr was fantastic as was Jullian, about the Emporer or Rome who wanted to turn back the adoption of Christianity as the core religion.

He wrote a series of books for each age of the country...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WCGreen (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:51 PM

49. not that one, but several of the Burr Lincoln series. will check Julian, tho. thx. his Palimpsest

is also worth a turn

while I bloviate, try any thing by William Gibson, mainly Neuromancer, or Virtual Light

one more: Kim Stanley robinson's Washington DC SF roman a clef:

"Science in the Capital series encompasses three novels: Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005), and Sixty Days and Counting (2007). This series explores the consequences of global warming, both on a global level and as it affects the main characters—several employees of the National Science Foundation and those close to them. A recurring theme of Robinson's is that of Buddhist philosophy, which is represented in the series by the agency of ambassadors from Khembalung, a fictional Buddhist micro-state located on an offshore island in the Ganges delta. Their state is threatened by rising sea levels, and the reaction of the Khembalis is compared to that of the Washingtonians."

way more interesting, evocative than the above summary

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gabi Hayes (Reply #49)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:17 PM

50. Thanks for the recommendations....

I'll check them out.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:52 AM

19. I've been waiting since "Jaws" to enjoy another Spielberg

movie; perhaps this is the one.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ron Green (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:58 PM

39. Private Ryan?

Schindler's List...

You need to catch up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to trumad (Reply #39)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:44 PM

51. Those were both well-crafted movies, but still emotionally manipulative.

Somehow they just didn't stick with me like the great ones do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:38 PM

22. It's an awesome movie.

My daughter, who is a lawyer for the directors guild, took me to a showing at the DGA theater yesterday afternoon. After the movie, there was a Q&A moderated by JJ Abrams of Steven Spielberg himself, right there on the stage. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts on the making of the film.

One thing I disagree with the review you quoted ... The emphasis was on passage of the 13th amendment. The emancipation proclamation was an executive order which Lincoln worried could be overturned after he was out of office, so the push was on to get the 13th amendment passed before ending the war, as the southern states would no doubt have quashed any efforts to pass the amendment. It was a very delicate timing issue, and the legislative arm-twisting was epic.

I recommend this film to everyone. It was a wonderful character study. Daniel Day-LEwis was perfect in the role.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:45 PM

25. It sounds awesome. If it's a hit, do you think they'll do a sequel?

What? Too soon?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:47 PM

26. Rarely go out-to-the-movies, but this one I'm going to see.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:56 PM

28. It is a very good movie but Spielberg strains a bit with

his sentimentality. He just can't help himself at times. One thing that makes it a must see is that it is one great looking movie.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to chelsea0011 (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:26 PM

31. My daughter and I were commenting the same thing afterwards.

I really think he can't help himself -- the schmaltz is a bit of a trademark. I think he does do a pretty good job of keeping it in check here, though.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 03:33 PM

29. I actually read a review that questioned why Lincoln was being portrayed by Day-Lewis....

....with a high, thin voice. I stopped reading the review at that point.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #29)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:30 PM

32. The voice was perfect.

As to Day-Lewis, Spielberg said DDL lost quite of bit of weight to take on the role and continued to lose throughout the shooting. They shot linearly, from beginning to end, so that by the end of the movie he looked noticeably more gaunt and tired, as would have been the case historically, given the stress of the time. Very little makeup was used, just a bit raising the cheekbones and creating some wrinkles, but it was DDL's own hair, own beard. It was really a remarkable portrayal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #32)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:16 PM

42. Pics of Lincoln in 1860 and 1865......

Civil War Journal - Matthew Brady Photographs Abraham Lincoln

QUOTE from the article:

One could argue that John Wilkes Booth did not assassinate Lincoln, he simply put him out of his misery. Having to deal with the death of two young children, and his wife, Mary Todd, who was never stable mentally after that, took quite a toll on him. That and the fact that he constantly waited for any bit of news about the war, sometimes waiting at the telegraph office all night to hear casualty reports of battle.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:46 AM

45. The photos remind me

that one of the other few modifications done to DDL's appearance was they put something behind his ears to make them stick out a bit more. Something that would probably have to be done to anyone playing the part of President Obama, too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:32 PM

33. Spielberg donated (at least) $1 million to the President's campaign

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:22 PM

37. So Looking Forward to this Movie!

.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:10 PM

40. I am looking forward to seeing this movie.

It looks great.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:12 PM

41. It's 2012 and Lincoln is "in"

Very interesting that there are several Lincoln vehicles out there, can't wait to see this - especially as I've discovered that I have an ancestor who campaigned for him, somehow it doesn't seem all that long ago

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread