Thursday, April 4, 2013

LINCOLN

I can honestly say that there is very little that can keep me up past my bedtime. The movie, Lincoln, was able to do just that. A riveting account of the passage of the thirteenth amendment, it held my attention into the wee hours of the night. As you are drawn into the world of Lincoln, you do not even feel the passage of time.

Don't let anyone tell you that this is a mere costume drama. It is drama extraordinaire. The movie displays the machinations, the political collusion and intrigue that went into determining that all people in the USA are of equal worth regardless of skin color. It also highlights a little known fact about the negotiations to end the American Civil War. This I found very surprising and quite Machiavellian on Lincoln's part. It was a relief to see him being played as a human being rather than a deity for a change.

What you also see is that politics for all its worth hasn't really changed in over 150 years. It is democracy in its glory and with all its foibles. Lincoln is the American experience. It is us. It is who we are and what we have the ability to become and move beyond.

Yes, the performances are wonderful. The cast is a hodgepodge of some of the best character actors and actresses in Hollywood. Daniel Day-Lewis, as usual, definitely deserved his Oscar.




The movie is based upon Doris Kearn Goodwin's  book, Team of Rivals, and is written by play-write Tony Kushner. She is a well respected presidential historian. Her books are enlightening and interesting. However, in general I find Kushner's work preachy, dilettantish, self-righteous and generally devoid of any historical reality or context. But considering he had a checkable historical source he had to abide by this time,  there could not have been much maneuverability to add his own politics into the fray.

Yet in the end Kushner did insult Connecticut, which actually voted for the thirteenth amendment not against it. He claimed artistic license in the defaming of the Connecticut delegation. (Honestly, I am not convinced Kushner didn't have help with the script all along.) The ultimate sad truth is that while Lincoln was an honorable man, the same cannot be said for Kushner and sadly by extension Mr. Spielberg.


Qi en Pace,


Elise



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