Spielberg - Lincoln
Based upon the last few chapters of a popular novel. The film focuses on Lincoln the individual during the last stages of the war, from late 1864 till the end. The angle is a bit different than prior Lincoln based films. It is Lincoln, then the whirl wind of activity around him, family, congress, opponents, the war. Historically based, but as with most novels it tends to fill in gaps to make the story flow across frames that tend to have inherited voids. It is not a documentary, its based on a novel.
Regardless what source or version Spielberg would have used, there would still have been the Lincoln Pro/Con folks debating what version is thought most accurate of what he did or didnt do or how he did it, same as they have been doing for nearly 150 years already. Thats just a given, and Im sure this film will spark up more debates.
Remember that the film details the last few months, so it doesnt detail on what he did or said in 1860 or 1861 nor his entire administration or the war. The film is about Lincoln so it does focus on him and his later life time frame in the white house. but not the usual Lincoln all for glory and faultless person as most other films have. It also shows his opponents and his knowingly skirting the rules to obtain what he detemines is necessary. Spielberg purposely delayed the release of the film till after the Presidential Elections for good reasons.
Additionally... It also isnt a battle epic. However in typical Spielberg/Saving Private Ryan fashion, the first few minutes of the film will immediately get your attention...
Daniel Day Lewis did an outsanding job portraying Lincoln, so did Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, amongst others. It was interesting taking the burley Daniel Day Lewis, whom previously was difficult to look at and not envision his role as the evil and ruthless "Butcher" in Gangs of New York film. To be transformed into the awkward, thin, and gangly Lincoln. One thing noted was the detail in charactors and likenesses to whom they were portraying were very good.
I worked on the film, so was invited to the advance screening premier last week, so have already seen the film. Its public release is this weekend.
Regardless what political or heritage based stance one may posess, its still a good well made CW era topic film to see.
I truly look forward to seeing it. It was a point of discussion around our campfire at Raymond last month. I understood it was based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lincoln Biography, "A Team of Rivals"? I generally view that as a historical work rather than a novel. Like Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough, more of a popluar vice academic history, but a historical work as opposed to say "Killer Angels" as a novel. But, as you say, with all Hollywood, this certainly is more likely to have liberties taken by the likes of Spielberg and not a historical documentary. Nonetheless, I have high hopes they have done the issues and characters justice and have heard good things from others, just as you have stated on its behalf here.
Thanks for the insights.
I did get a chance to see the film last week, and really enjoyed it. I was worried about Lincoln being "godlike" and was thrilled to see him protrayed as a man, with fears and problems and affection. Daniel Day-Lewis plays a flawless Lincoln. You never see him, its always Lincoln. I recommend seeing the film.
"Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is not a novel. A novel is a fictional work. ToR is a non-fiction history book.
Originally Posted by Frederick14Va
Well, went to see it last night and I was very pleasantly surprised. As I told some folks in church this morning that asked me how I liked it, I didn't take my wife because as a 19th Century historian, I am alway critical of the movies, i.e. "why can't they hire a decent technical advisor!" However, I have no majore complaints, and my son and I were both happy with what we saw, so my wife would have heard no complaining. I think they did a very good job adapting "Team of Rivals" and the period vernacular speech, clothing and actions were very good. I was also impressed that the actors really looked the part, Stanton really looked like Stanton, Seward and Guideon Welles likewise. The Alexander Stephens character really looked like him, I was amazed the effort that went in to the presentation. The theater was fairly full, and hardly a word spoken as people filed out. If the public sees this, a great tool for history education.
Originally Posted by Pennvolunteer
I agree!!! I saw the film Friday night at the first showing and it was a packed house!! I thoroughly enjoyed the film and will encourage all my students to see this film! I too tend to be critical of historical films, but this one took my breath away. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out!!!!