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From DreamWorks Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln — with an all-star ensemble cast including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This inspiring and revealing drama focuses on the 16th President's tumultuous final four months in office as this visionary leader pursues a course of action to end the Civil War, unite the country and abolish slavery.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 249
- Fresh: 223
- Rotten: 26
- Average Rating: 8.0/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Lincoln paints a powerful and compelling portrait of the man who has become an icon. We don't need to see more of his life to understand how rare a figure he was - this window is more than sufficient.
Fresh: It's very good, but that's not the point. It's necessary.
Fresh: Lincoln offers proof of what magic can happen when an actor falls in love with his character. Because as great as Day-Lewis has been in his many parts, he has never seemed quite so smitten.
Fresh: A bit like watching the West Wing played by Amish People. Desperately needed 40 minutes cut out of what is essentially quite a beautifully made movie.
A STRIKING PORTRAIT OF OUR NATION'S GREATEST LEADER
Many films throughout the years have paid respect or tribute to Abraham Lincoln, but perhaps none have been as successful at addressing the key moments of his astounding presidency than "Lincoln," a masterfully crafted drama that not only reaffirms Steven Spielberg's talent as a director, but just as well proves that a historical biopic can be both genuinely entertaining and remarkably informative in equal measure. This grand yet intimate depiction of the 16th President's final four months in office is positively overflowing with richly drawn characters, a timeless score, and consummate artistry, but it's Daniel Day-Lewis' incomparably authentic portrayal of Honest Abe that ultimately makes the entire experience such a powerful one. It's a rare thing when a movie this bravely ambitious sets out to hit all the right marks about its subject and ends up doing so in spades, but it seems like Spielberg has done just that.
"Lincoln" begins on the battleground in the fierce midst of the Civil War, but for the most part, the action portrayed in Spielberg's presidential picture is verbal, emotional, and full of heated tension; and it all takes place within the confines of the White House and the U.S. Capitol. With a screenplay by Tony Kushner, adapting Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," this drama masterfully captures the dual dilemmas facing the 16th President during the final months of his life: how to bring the war between the states to an end, and how to eradicate slavery once and for all.
Above anything else, "Lincoln" is a human tale, and Day-Lewis, armed with Kushner's eloquent prose, brings his subject to life with grace, subtlety, humor, and warmth. His restrained and dignified portrayal of the American icon is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime performance that only a true master thespian can pull off with remarkable authenticity. In nearly every frame, Day-Lewis sinks into his role so well to the point where you start to believe you're actually watching the President himself come back to life right before your eyes. From his humble Southern dialect to the gentle mannerisms he quietly displays in every scene, every ounce of his character feels genuine - as if we're meeting someone for the first time who we already seem to know. Along with giving Lincoln a lively personality, he also provides him with a complex sense of depth and urgency. The weight and fate of the entire country rests on his shoulders, and you can visibly see the inconsolable grief in his eyes as a result of the mighty tasks placed in front of him. At the same time, he's left to deal with personal family matters, most of them concerning his stern yet thoughtful wife Mary Todd (played with superb conviction by Sally Field in arguably her biggest standout role since "Norma Rae"). The profound scenes of grief she shares with her husband over the death of their son are simply heart-wrenching. Tommy Lee Jones turns in an equally memorable performance as radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens. Even though his supporting character isn't nearly as developed as Lincoln's, he still comes across as an intriguing protagonist thanks to a witty set of dialogue and his forceful attitude toward the abolishment of slavery. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, and David Strathairn also prove to be solid additions to the movie's impressively assembled cast, despite their limited performances. But of course, it's not just the performances that shine here. The cinematography is beautifully framed and immaculately shot, making even the smallest room feel grand and spacious. Coupled with John William's epic score, the imagery is nothing short of stunning. And while Kushner's heavy screenplay does tend to drag a bit at times, particularly during seemingly endless scenes of heated political discussion, the film never loses sight of its main subject, and neither does the cast.
While it may not be the most consistently engaging or historically accurate movie some viewers were hoping for, "Lincoln" nonetheless stands as a deeply fascinating period piece that richly immerses the audience in its world while quietly revealing the human side of the 16th President in a way that no other biopic has done before. Daniel Day-Lewis is an absolute revelation in his depiction of Honest Abe. He completely disappears into the character both mentally and physically, so much so that it becomes next to impossible to separate the actor from the role. Once you see his brilliant performance, you'll know exactly why he ended up winning the award for Best Actor at the Oscars this year (for the third time). When it comes down to it, this is a fantastic gem of a historical film. Sure, it may have some minor pacing issues and a few tonal inconsistencies, but Spielberg's heartfelt look at the personal struggles of Abe during his final days in office is touching, riveting, and genuinely human all at the same time. With its stunning ensemble cast, extraordinary eye for detail, emotional intensity, sharply written dialogue, and witty sense of humor, "Lincoln" is a terrific example of how old-fashioned storytelling and real-life history can effortlessly come together as one for an experience that's as thoughtful as it is transcendent. No matter your opinion on American politics, this presidential drama is well worth your time, especially for Day-Lewis' amazing portrayal of Lincoln.
I JUST DON'T KNOW....
"Lincoln" is a film I've been looking forward to for at least 10 years. I heard way back that Spielberg was going to direct and I was ecstatic. However that being said, I was hoping for a biopic not a film focusing on making a new amendment. To make this review short, I must just say this. Yes, Daniel-Day Lewis is amazing in the role of Abraham Lincoln, but I am mad at how they (the screen writer, director) changed the events. I study American history (and American government). There were so many errors in this film that it's unacceptable. It's historically inaccurate. I do not have time to go through all of them (although I'd really like to). My final thought is; disappointed. It's a slow and historically inaccurate film that's completely over rated. Rent, NO BUY.
This movie is, once again, a clever re-writing of history with a heavy dose of Hollywood 's extreme liberal spin. Lewis puts forth a wonderful performance, however, the overall piece is heavily biased, and worst of all...boring.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2012
- © 2013 DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation