Entering the theater, some teenagers passed us going to another movie, and one said, Lincoln dies in the end. Well yes, (and I might have made such a wiseass comment) but the older person in me should have said, “Why don’t you see this instead and learn more?”
The history buff in me can only say about the new Lincoln movie, WOW! Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field brought their roles to the forefront. I looked up Thaddeus Stevens, saw the picture and realized Tommy Lee Jones was made up well. Yes, the affair with his housekeeper was true, although the Monty Python ruined me, could only picture Eric Idle. Otherwise, Tommy Lee Jones looked like a shorter, heavier Walter Matthau.
The two and a half hours go by without you noticing. You enjoy when Lincoln tells a story to illustrate a point. The entire basis of the movie was getting the Thirteenth Amendment through the House of Representatives. Can they end the Civil War and how will the country be rebuilt?
Sally Field, who gained thirty pounds to play the role got the feeling of Mary Todd Lincoln, a woman already on the express train to madness. Tommy Lee Jones got the sarcasm of Thaddeus Stevens down. The suave Democrat Fernando Wood I grew up hearing stories about because I grew up in New York City. Fernando Wood wanted the city to leave the Union (he was Mayor of New York at the time). Lincoln laughed and said “I never heard of the back door leaving the house.”
You laughed with everyone in the movie laughing at the Lincoln stories. My favorite scene? A Pennsylvania Congressman, who is lambasted by Thaddeus Stevens and bullied into voting for the Thirteenth Amendment.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin helped with the movie as it was based on her book about Lincoln’s cabinet Team of Rivals.
The role of Secretary Seward reminded me of Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister. One of my favorite books about the period was a small book called Lincoln and the Russians taken from the papers of the Russian Ambassador to Washington. Seward thought he had the Republican nomination of 1860 wrapped up to the point that he left Chicago and went home to Auburn, New York to write his nomination acceptance speech. People forget Lincoln was a compromise candidate. President Lincoln probably would not be elected today. Tall, gangly, not telegenic, you get the picture.
A great movie and historical education that should win awards. Think about the issues today. While nothing like the Civil War, you can see the issues between the White House and Congress.
- PRESS Pass: Doris Kearns Goodwin (presspass.nbcnews.com)
- A Dignified President and Movie: Brief Review (marcys.wordpress.com)
- Fact-Checking Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Movie with Biographer Ronald C. White (booksnreview.com)
- Review: An epic ‘Lincoln’ (mercurynews.com)
- “Lincoln” a Masterful Movie (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- Lincoln > (newsreview.com)
- So You Say You’ll Change the Constitution: Seven Historians Respond to “Lincoln” (tropicsofmeta.wordpress.com)
- Review: Lincoln (webnerhouse.com)
- Review: Lincoln (thefocusedfilmographer.com)
- Tommy Lee Jones, ‘Lincoln’ Star, On Thaddeus Stevens, Improv And Today’s Politics (news.moviefone.com)