Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is more like an experience than a movie. It is exciting, spellbinding, filled with suspense. Also with dead bodies, smoke filled and very noisy rooms, lots of old (and some young) white men scheming with and shouting at one another.
I left the movie feeling like it was all there. Lincoln’s melancholy, his power and his keen sense of how to pull the political levers. His trust in his own judgment. His continuing pain over his son Willie’s death, his care and concern for son Tad, his exquisite pain over possibly losing Robert, who wants to enlist. And his complex relationship with his wife, Mary, whom he calls Molly (bare and open acting by Sally Field).
There was so much great acting and truth telling. Lincoln – awkward and ungainly and impossibly tall, with messy hair and a scraggly beard. Daniel Day Lewis perfectly captured the man as we’ve all been taught him lo these many years. Secretary of State Seward and the entire Team of Rivals was on view, with some great actors having small but critical roles. Democrats, Republicans in their roles at that time, Confederates and Yankees, the Gettysburg Address. The messiness, the viciousness and the grandeur of politics was there to be seen as well.
I am as tired and worn out as though it were a political struggle I had been leading. Power, beauty, justice. Democracy. All there to be seen and absorbed. Perhaps we should show it in all the war spots in the world.