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.