“Lincoln” has pretty much taken both statues and run, leaving the competition in the dust.
Steven Spielberg’s cinematic portrait of the 16th president is pretty much a masterpiece.
Daniel Day-Lewis disappears underneath the top hat and beard to literally become Abraham Lincoln.
During the first frames of the film, you forget it’s an actor portraying the president and believe you’re watching Lincoln himself on screen.
The film takes a small chunk of the president’s life as he tries to pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.
But that’s not what the movie is about.
The film is instead a glimpse of a man fighting for what he believes in.
He’s been such an icon in American history that to see him struggle and fight his way to end slavery and the Civil War is fascinating.
To see the way the government may have very well been like during that time is also captivating.
There are no explosions. No car, or carriage, chases. No Hobbits battling ogres in Middle Earth.
Just a man going against the system, trying to do what’s right and eventually changing the world in the process.
And Day-Lewis loses himself in the role completely. The way he walks, talks and sits is amazing to watch. As I mentioned before, he is Lincoln.
Spielberg takes and places you directly into the mid-1800s.
The streets are muddy. The people dirty. The soldiers war worn and tired.
It’s also awesome to see the early White House and Capitol buildings as they were then. Not at all fancy and elaborate, just there to serve their purpose.
And from interviews with Spielberg, everything was painstakingly researched and made to be as accurate as humanly possible.
There’s so much to look at in every scene that it pretty much begs for another viewing just to get it all in.
But the biggest surprise was the humor in the film.
It’s very funny at times, but it’s all part of the structure of the film. Lincoln, it turns out, loved telling humorous stories but wasn’t very good at it.
But that’s one of the things that shows a human side to him never covered in history class or in most of the movies made about him.
He’s human. He makes mistakes. He has a family and problems that must be dealt with during times of great strife.
And that makes Lincoln relatable to us all.
The cast is pretty amazing, too. Sally Field plays Mary Todd Lincoln and may very well end up with her own statuette come February.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays their son, Robert Lincoln, and seems to relish in the fact he’s playing opposite such great actors and ups his already-stellar game.
And then there are the surprises that litter the film.
James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, Jared Harris and David Strathairn all turn in extraordinary performances.
But when it’s a Spielberg film, it’s a given that the cast is made up of thoroughbreds, not ponies.
John Williams’ score rolls under each scene and never takes you away from the film but so accentuates every frame with such subtleties that you forget the music’s even there.
“Lincoln” is a fantastic film about an awful, tempestuous moment in American history.
But it’s inspiring to see that one man can change the course of history, no matter how hard the fight or at what cost, which was eventually his own life.
“Lincoln” isn’t currently playing in Beeville.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.