Lincoln: A Rather Stifled Affair
Daniel Day-LewisHal Holbrook...
In 1 Cinema
It’s January 1865, and Abraham Lincoln (Day-Lewis) has just been sworn in for his second term of presidency. The Civil War is still dragging on and many, including Lincoln, would like to see it draw to a close. Things are not so good on the home-front either; the President’s eldest son, Robert (Gordon-Levitt), is desperate to join the army and wife Mary (Field), is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of their son.
Determined to put an end to the bloodshed, President Lincoln’s relentless desire to abolish slavery via the Thirteenth Amendment is also a primary focus. Given that the amendment was rejected less than a year earlier, and with the country deeply bruised by the war, this became a highly risky proposition. In order for it to pass, President Lincoln must unite the interests of radicals and conservatives in his own Republican party, including the Republican House Ways and Means committee chairman, Thaddeus Stevens (Lee Jones).
The plot is relatively straightforward and the film’s approach in focusing on just a snapshot of Lincoln’s life, as oppose to his entire biography, is novel, though a little underwhelming.
The only positive in this entire affair is of course Daniel Day-Lewis, who with all of his greatness holds the film together. Although perhaps a little too solemn, Day-Lewis is flawless and is once again a mesmerising on-screen presence. As the somewhat unstable wife, Field also embodies her role well, despite a few theatrical moments. Unfortunately, Gordon-Levitt feels miscast but Lee-Jones absolutely shines.
Not only does it fail to live up to the hype but it also fails to live up to the magnificence of its leading man, who at the end of the day is the only reason to see this film.