I went to the movies this afternoon. This is not an unusual event for me, for I love going to the movies. In fact, back in 1996 while on sabbatical in California I was teased about being a fledgling film critic. There was a majestic old movie house a block from the parish where I lived in Oakland that saw me cross its threshold often. I also attend the matinee showings because its easier to get away for a while in the afternoon rather than the evening and its less expensive (although they recently raised the prices).
I mention my afternoon experience because the movie that I saw was excellent ... LINCOLN, by Steven Spielberg. As I have mentioned before, I am somewhat of a Civil War buff, and have always been fascinated by Abraham Lincoln. This movie is less about the man and more the story of the struggle to pass the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution that dealt with slavery. This took place in early 1865 when that amendment passed the House of Representatives. And yet this movie is also all about the man, Abraham Lincoln.
The movie is long, not packed with action, wordy, a period piece, but excellent, in my opinion. To see the workings of the times in the political and moral arenas is fascinating. To begin to understand the historical significance of that moment in history, and to see some of its key players makes history exciting.
But what makes the movie is the acting of Daniel Day-Lewis who portrays Lincoln. I saw him on a talk show the other day when he spoke of his hesitancy to take the role. How could a Brit dare to portray an American icon? He said that it took a great deal of persuasion by the director. But capture the man he did. I was convinced that I was watching the president in action, his mannerisms, his humor, his self deprecation, his struggle, tiredness and pain. It is in my humble opinion a role worthy of awards. Others in the cast were excellent as well, but it was Daniel Day-Lewis that made this movie. I am truly glad that I went this afternoon. It may not be every one's "cup of tea" (that is why I share so few "reviews" - we each see things differently), but this is a movie that stands out in a sea of much less inspiring films of late. This one gets my vote.