Daniel Day-Lewis stars as President Abraham Lincoln in ‘Lincoln,’ offering a tremendous performance that is sure to be a leading Oscar contender.
by Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
Published: 11/08/2012 06:40pm
Its title notwithstanding, Lincoln is an absorbing, intellectual look at the political machinations involved in abolishing slavery, not an exhaustive biopic about Honest Abe.
A trio of truths stand out in this stately film (* * * 1/2 out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday in select cities). First, Daniel Day-Lewis so completely conveys the dignity and shrewd intelligence of Abraham Lincoln, it’s as if historical footage has been unearthed and we’re watching the Kentucky-born president himself. Second, it’s glaringly clear how divisive and hard-fought the effort to end slavery was, not only on the battlefield but in the halls of Washington. Third, and most important, Lincoln was, above all else, committed to the principles upon which the United States was founded.
The film is based in part on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. No revelations about the man surface; mostly, we are privy to the politics of the era and get a compelling view of Lincoln’s determination, as well as his ability to surmount hurdles and trounce the opposition in service of a greater good.
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