Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln is a stunning performance that will be deeply etched on every mind that experiences it. The pre-release screening I attended of Lincoln (2012) made sharply clear the reason everyone connected with the film called Day-Lewis “Mr. President” during the months of filming.
The man and the makeup aged throughout the film. Everyone fought with the President at every turn and the fight drained him unto death. Had he not been assassinated, he would have died of exhaustion, so gaunt and stumbling in his mission to reunite the North and South.
At the same time, Lincoln never lost his sense of humor or gift for storytelling. Add that to the barroom brawl-like scenes in the US House of Representatives and you have quite a laugh. Thanks have not changed so much in the run up to Election 2012 — the House in 1865 just didn’t have TV for campaign ads, so they just shouted! Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader nearly run off with the film with their antics as well.
The scenes of Civil War soldiers are just as extraordinary as the laughter and exhaustion in this film. An African American regiment is prominent and a Native American Union officer walks alongside General U.S. Grant. Battle scenes are realistic, but without much blood. Mary Todd Lincoln is not too crazy after all – Sally field plays her at just the right pitch for a stressed out wartime First Lady with a temper as well as tears.
See the movie and read the book at its foundation – research that formed Team Of Rivals. You won’t be sorry.