Saw the new "Lincoln" movie and it is as excellent as promised. Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones took over the screen. Brilliant script and unlike so many movies of today, the money that was spent on this film went into the script and the performers. This movie is not light entertainment, but is something for the entire family to watch and discuss, big time, together. Would have changed the title from just "Lincoln" to "Lincoln v. Slavery" or something like that.
The movie is mostly about a couple of months in early 1865 when Lincoln was trying to get a lame-duck House of Representatives to approve the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the amendment that abolished slavery. A Republican U.S. Senate had already approved it, but the Republicans didn't have a required 2/3 majority in the House and needed some Democrats who had lost in the November, 1864 election to switch from their pro-slavery position (the Democrat position) and support the Republicans in passing the amendment, which would then go on to the states for ratification (a certain thing, politically).
The movie is about the process of "convincing" these lame-duck Democrats to switch their votes by virtually any means possible. This is a "small" movie in that it focuses on just one part, a significant part to be certain, of the Lincoln legacy. It does that brilliantly. I strongly recommend "Lincoln."
I now understand why Spielberg, a big Obama supporter, waited until after the 2012 election to release this film he directed so brilliantly. The film, an honest one, shows how the anti-slavery Republicans had to battle the pro-slavery Democrats to get the 13th Amendment passed. Republicans are the heroes in this movie and that was the last message Spielberg wanted to be sent to the American people prior to this election.
It would have reminded Americans what the Republicans are all about, their roots, there heritage. It also, through the brilliant portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens by Tommy Lee Jones, shows how the art of compromise can be done and how things can get done as a result. Stevens, one of the founders of the Republican Party, never married the black woman who was the love of his life because that wouldn't have been allowed in those days, but they were together the last quarter century of his life and his values, real American values, guided him through those years as a founder and leader of the Republican Party.
He kept some of his stronger anti-slavery views and positions under the surface in
order to get at least some of his positions accomplished. He chose settling for a "small" victory, although in this case it was historic in nature (the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, rather than take the chance of losing the battle in one big confrontation over his entire agenda. That is the art of compromise. He got his way and America was the better for it. The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written by Republicans, backed by Republicans and turned into the law of the land by Republicans.
By the way, Stevens or "Thad" as I will call him from now on, also led the cause to fight those who were anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, while he was battling
all those anti-black Democrats at the same time. What is interesting is that he
is so very much NOT driven by hate, although his opponents clearly are.
This is an excellent American movie and a pro-American movie at the same time.
Interesting, however, that Lincoln is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who is British born but of Irish heritage (with a Jewish mother) and who has double citizenship of England and Ireland. Also, the actor who plays U.S. Grant is English. How these actors can change accents continues to amaze me. To compare the roles of Daniel Day-Lewis in "Gangs of New York," "Lincoln" and some of his English or Irish roles is almost bewildering. He "becomes" his characters as well as any of the greatest actors in history. That is no surprise, be cause he is one of the greatest actors in history. No debate necessary.
Go see this movie.