'Lincoln' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader and John Hawkes
With the recent presidential election, America is still contending with arguments and disagreements between the political parties on how to run the country. The same was true nearly 150 years ago, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, giving slaves their freedom, and pushed to sign the 13th Amendment to end slavery. The new historical biography film ‘Lincoln,’ which is now playing in theaters, shows the personal and professional struggles the famed president faced during his time in the White House.
‘Lincoln’ follows the title character, the 16th president of the United States (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) as he pushes for the passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. As the Civil War rages on, the president must also contend with the continued carnage on the battlefield, and the fights he even experiences with members in his own cabinet over the decision to emancipate the slaves. The anti-abolitionist Democrats will be tested against Lincoln’s moderates and the more zealous anti-slavery radicals of the young Republican Party.
Lincoln must also deal with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (portrayed by Sally Field), as she struggles with the deaths of several of their sons, and the estrangement he faces with his college-age son Robert (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who returns home from Harvard to join the Union army.
Screenwriter Tony Kushner, who partially based the script for the biographical drama on Doris Kerans Goodwin’s book ‘Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,’ emotionally showcased the true motivations behind Lincoln’s push to pass the 13th Amendment and end the Civil War. Instead of mainly focusing on the bloody fight between the Union and Confederate soldiers on the battlefields, or how the fighting affected the public, the film personalized the respected leader. The story considerably doesn’t portray the 16th president without inflated self-importance or grandeur; he takes the feelings of his black staff, and the soldiers he has spoken to on the battlefield, into consideration, and won’t end the war unless he knows for certain they will be free.
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