Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lincoln Review: How did Lincoln do it?

"Four score and seven years ago..."

Famous words, some of the most famous words that have ever been spoken in human history. Spoken by a famous man with so many words in the history books. So much of what Abraham Lincoln did has ended up in the history books and yet very few ever really know him. They don't really understand what he did and how he did it. Figures in history often have that problem. We spend hours upon hours trying to figure them out and putting them in a modern context. What would they think of what we are doing today? How would they feel? What advice would they give to us about today's problems? Rarely though do we ever look at what they actually went through in their own time. The hardship and the struggle of every day life giving us the structure of what exists today.

Which is not to say that the details aren't out there. Volumes upon volumes of text books are dedicated to these people and the lives that they led but we are always discovering new things about them. And that's because the context, both historical and emotional, can only really be understood with that often get lost over time as history moves forward. That is until the invention of film. With film, meant in broader cinematic terms rather than the physical medium, we can attempt to capture the reality of the struggle in a new and exciting way. Not to mention with technology and techniques being what they are today, the process of capturing it can be even more accurate and honest then ever before.

As a result, we have a film like Lincoln. Directed by Steven Spielberg someone that many might consider a historical figure of the modern age, and starring Daniel Day Lewis, an actor who is on his way to becoming one of the best of the modern age if he isn't already. Through attention to detail and command performances by all involved, Lincoln paints a beautiful portrait of one of the most incredible and well known men in history. What makes the film even more remarkable is the fact that littered within the film are great lessons for the modern day. A nation divided by political and economic differences shows that little has changed in the past 100+ years and yet everything has changed.

How did Lincoln do it? Even in seeing this film I'm not entirely sure because I am left with a sense of awe at the fact that he was able to accomplish anything at all. I am left with this same sense of awe after seeing this film. For all the ways in which Spielberg could have approached this film, he chose the most difficult way and yet the most relevant to modern times. Kudos to him for that.


  1. Not perfect by any means, but still a flick that had me informed, while also being entertained. Now if only school was more like that. Good review Andrew.

    1. Yeah, I thought it was entertaining but I can see where some people might think it's too slow. Thanks for the comments.