Monday, 18 February 2013

FILM: Lincoln (9/10)

Why did I watch it?
Lincoln was one of 2012's biggest releases and earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. I caught in on a plane before general release in the UK.

What's it all about?
Set in January 1985, with the backdrop of the American Civil War, Lincoln follows the 16th President of the United States as he strives to get the landmark Thirteenth Amendment passed through the House of Representatives, legally abolishing slavery. Lincoln faces friction within his own party, accused of not giving every effort to first end the war, as well as opposition to the bill from the Democrat party.  

Should you watch it?
Don't let the above plot put you off. Yes, its politics but it's so much more. It's a character study of the highest order. We get to see Lincoln's political machinations, frustrations with public office, as well as his personal strife behind the White House's doors. The narrative never feels dull or anything other than monumentous. 

No, its not an early episode of Suits
I haven't seen any of the films featuring other nominees for Academy Best Actor but I just cannot imagine that any of the performances come close to Daniel Day-Lewis' as Lincoln. Just when you think the guy can't get any better (There Will Be Blood), he steps up to another level. His performance as Lincoln is simply wonderful. Patient, stoic, inspirational, determined, regretful, melancholy, Day-Lewis manages to capture everything.

To heap all the praise on Day-Lewis would be disrespectful to the rest of the cast. Credit where due, Sally Fields is excellent as the Mary Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones turns in a strong, sombre performance and with the cast on offer I could go on all day.

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