Hats Off to “Lincoln”


If one has set foot on American soil, chances are he or she knows who Abraham Lincoln was. This tall, bearded, top hat-wearing figure is ingrained into American culture like no other. We see him on the penny or five-dollar bill every time we open our wallet. His figure is so omnipresent that many feel as if they know him despite the fact no living person can claim such. However, watching Lincoln will give you just about the next best thing to meeting Abe in person.

This experience is largely due to of Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in this film. I’ve always had this image in my head of what Lincoln would sound and act like, and Lewis simply nailed it. His voice was key. It was somewhat faint, and relaxed, but nonetheless commanding and captivating. Lewis’ mastery goes beyond mere vocal skills though. He perfected the character of Lincoln, a man who was incredibly intelligent yet could tell a story that would entertain the common man.

However, I cannot be quite as laudatory regarding Sally Field’s performance as Mary Todd Lincoln. Maybe this was an accurate portrayal of the real woman, but I found her to be, for lack of a better word, annoying to watch! She always seemed to be nagging Lincoln (as if he didn’t have enough on his plate) and was the one person that could provoke true anger from him. However, it is very possible that this was simply an accurate performance, as in fact; Mary Todd Lincoln was committed to an asylum in 1875 because of her irrational behavior.

Before buying tickets, be aware of what the next two and a half hours will consist of. This is not a documentary about Lincoln’s life, or a drama about the civil war. This is a movie about the process it took to ratify the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery. It makes clear how difficult of a process it was for this amendment to be added to the constitution. Lincoln faced immense challenges every step of the way. It’s amazing to think that if he had not pushed so hard, the amendment might never have been ratified, and our country and the world could have been very different today,

Yes, you will learn something by the time you leave the theater. That being said, it will not be a boring process. This movie was filled with fiery speeches and tense moments that captivate the viewer. However, if you go into this movie expecting a war film full of blood guts and guns, you will be disappointed.  Perhaps Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter would better meet such needs.