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stj November 18 2012 03:48 AM

Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Forgot to put it in title of thread but----SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!













Many things could be said, but first, was it a good choice to portray Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Smith as lovers? Second, was it a good choice to make this reveal a climactic point of the film?

auntiehill November 18 2012 06:14 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
It wasn't a climatic point at all; it was added in as more of an "extra." The climactic point was the vote, the cheers, the bells ringing. What happened afterwards was more of an aside. And a very interesting one, at that.

I loved this film. It was inspiring, fascinating, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny and just really, really interesting. Daniel Day Lewis is so good in this role; he's beyond brilliant.

And, UM, the movie is about the passing of the 13th Amendment. How could anyone ever say there's "too much politics?" That's like watching a film about a flood and saying there's too much water.

DarKush November 18 2012 06:16 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
^
I agree with what you said about the 13th Amendment. Perhaps some people thought it was going to be a film about Lincoln's entire life or his political career. Actually it's just covers the last several months of his life, with the focus being around the passage of the 13th Amendment. I also agree with you about Thaddeus Steven's relationship. It wasn't the climax of the film, but it added an emotional rationale for his strong beliefs in racial equality.

If you are interested in this film it is about politics, with a lot of speeches and deal making so prepare yourself for that, and if that isn't your thing you might want to skip it. The biggest action scene takes place at the beginning of the film.

The cast was very good. Daniel Day Lewis was great as Lincoln, and both Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones shined.

In time, Lincoln will probably be regarded as one of the high marks of Spielberg's later career. Personally I have no desire to see it again, but that doesn't take away that it was a very well together movie.

davejames November 18 2012 08:12 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Thought it was excellent. Spielberg thankfully kept things nicely quiet and restrained, the script was beautifully written, and the actors were all fantastic.

I do have to admit I found the parade of familiar actors a little too distracting though (Oh hey, it's the guy from Justified! And the guy from MacGyver! And James Spader with a wacky mustache!), so it will probably take me another viewing to get into the movie like I really want.

I'm also hoping they release a book of the screenplay at some point, because it seems like it would be amazing to read.

auntiehill November 18 2012 09:45 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Quote:

davejames wrote: (Post 7273921)
*snip*
I do have to admit I found the parade of familiar actors a little too distracting though (Oh hey, it's the guy from Justified! And the guy from MacGyver! And James Spader with a wacky mustache!), so it will probably take me another viewing to get into the movie like I really want.
*snip*

Heh...I kinda did that, too. "Oh, there's John Hawkes and James Spader and Lee Pace and Gloria Reuben and Bruce McGill, and, and, etc!" :lol:

stj November 18 2012 11:11 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Thomas W. Dixon's The Clansman assumed Lydia Smith was Stevens' (called Stoneman in the novel) mistress. Given strong religious values, being a secret mistress may have been very offensive to Smith. And having a severe club foot (and any other health problems or impairments) could have left Stevens convinced he was unmarriageable. Though it is certainly possible that they were a couple, it is equally possible they were not. Really the only argument that they were is that Stevens could have had anyone for a housekeeper rather than tolerate the whispers. Given that Stevens was as irascible and stubborn as depicted this is not conclusive.

The point is that the reading of the Thirteenth Amendment was a major use of artistic license. This reveal was the climax of Stevens' subplot (or "arc" if you insist on that term,) even if the climax of the amendment plot as such was, as was correctly stated, the bells ringing. The issue could be rephrased, was it good drama to give Thaddeus Stevens so much of Lincoln?

auntiehill November 19 2012 12:32 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Yes, dramatically, it worked very well.

Shanndee November 19 2012 02:22 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
I need another option in the poll in order to vote!

I thought it was a very good movie with incredible acting. I was never bored, and I found it to be incredibly moving in a few places.

However, I don't know about it becoming a classic. I'm not sure how often I will be able to re-watch it...and re-watch value is important to my definition of classic.

I liked the portrayal of Stevens and Smith. I thought it added to the drama, and the humanity, of the film. Even if they were not lovers, I think this spoke to the fact that there were many people living with their partners in secret during this time.

davejames November 19 2012 04:07 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Whether it was accurate or not, I thought the sight of them together in bed at the end was an inspired moment-- just because of how perfectly normal and modern it all looked.

The only thing I thought didn't work at the end was the odd misdirect of the final theater scene. I'm not sure what the point was in making us think we were about to see Lincoln get shot, only to reveal that it already happened somewhere else.

Say huh??

Kestrel November 20 2012 12:15 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Fantastic movie - excellent acting all around. Nice to see Lincoln made so... human. The high nasal voice was a bit odd at first, but from what I've read that's accurate so I'm glad they kept it. I was a bit unsure about making it so much about the politics at first but it was very engrossing.

Jones' Thaddeus Stevens kinda stole the show, and I loved every minutes of it. Didn't upstage Lincoln's own story of course, but I found the two most emotional scenes to actually be Stevens' big ones. I felt aghast and slightly sick when he managed to control himself despite provocation, and incredibly buoyed up when he and Lydia were reading the successfully passed Amendment.

stj November 20 2012 08:30 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
A little sampling of dissentient opinions:

Quote:

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is the latest attempt to justify the president who mounted a counter-revolution to the Revolution of 1776, thus re-establishing the supremacy of the government over the people.
But the reaction of fans and critics hasn’t exactly been what Spielberg expected. For starters, Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln fails to create a believable, sympathetic character. One fan echoed the reaction of many others: “Is it me or does Abe Lincoln sound a lot like Mr Burns?”
http://conservativetimes.org/?p=12608

Quote:

Then, when the 13th Amendment is finally up for passage, Spielberg goes through the calling of the role of the entire House of Representatives (by state, since each state gets one vote) and this ponderous scene makes one yearn to watch grass grow. Worse, you won't see a better example of overacting anywhere than by the people doing the voting. Astonishingly, when it's finally passed, the entire House of Representatives breaks out in song, almost a production number as if this were a Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire musical...
Forget all the adulatory plaudits you might read, this could be the most boring movie ever made.
http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/ffc/...coln-2012.html

Quote:

But this is a movie about Abraham Lincoln that focuses only on the last four months of his life and stays pretty much rooted in Washington and his Cabinet meetings.
There's one startling, savage battle — more brawl than warfare — but it's over quickly, within the movie's first few minutes (and we never return to the conflict). The president's historic speeches are mostly avoided, too. Even the assassination happens offscreen.
Instead, the movie takes as its main interest the passage of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, and as its theme, how ignoble means (patronage, bribes, outright threats) are sometimes needed to accomplish worthy ends.
This is certainly interesting material, historically. Politically, too — the movie feels like an expensive, personal plea from Spielberg to President Obama to start fighting dirty and playing for keeps.
But it fails to engage dramatically.
http://www.nj.com/entertainment/inde...daniel_da.html

Quote:

Okay. So Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s bloated $50-million history lesson about Abraham Lincoln’s final days in office as he attempted, by hook or crook, to abolish slavery, is noble, civic-minded, exhaustingly researched, immaculately detailed, crowded with a parade of cameos by good actors who look like Smith Brothers cough drop models, and noteworthy for another critic-proof performance by Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. It is all of those things. But Lincoln is also a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake—which, like the film itself, didn’t always work.
http://observer.com/2012/11/lincoln-...mmy-lee-jones/

Accidentally cut a link for one quote, but reading this stuff once was enough, won't go looking for the website again, sorry. If you're really interested, copy the whole quote into Google (in quotation marks,) then hit search. That should work.

Garak November 20 2012 11:53 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
http://i46.tinypic.com/29gerr9.jpg

stj November 21 2012 04:25 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
^^^Marx had it backwards, first time is farce, the second time is tragedy?

PS From HNN:

Quote:

The first scene is arresting: Two black soldiers speak with the president about their experiences in combat. One, a corporal, raises the problem of unequal promotions and pay in the Union Army. Two white soldiers join them, and the scene concludes as the corporal walks away, movingly reciting the final lines of the Gettysburg Address.
Unfortunately it is all downhill from there, at least as far as black characters are concerned....Mr. Spielberg’s “Lincoln” helps perpetuate the notion that African Americans have offered little of substance to their own liberation. While the film largely avoids the noxious stereotypes of subservient African-Americans for which movies like “Gone With the Wind” have become notorious, it reinforces, even if inadvertently, the outdated assumption that white men are the primary movers of history and the main sources of social progress....
http://hnn.us/articles/kate-masur-sp...#disqus_thread

The first scene of course shows African Americans in desperate hand to hand combat. This kind of gross misstatement of fact is always symptomatic of bad faith argument, revealing this to be a fake left critique.

Also, another HNN article cites Fawn Brodie's biography as telling us that Stevens had his housekeeper's portrait painted. It says Brodie argued that you don't have your housekeeper's portrait painted. It also cites Ms Smith's days long vigil by Stevens' deathbed. I agree that these things show as clearly as can be expected that Stevens and Smith were a couple.

Gaith November 22 2012 05:41 AM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
^ Stevens' Wiki article is pretty unambiguous on the relationship, FWIW...


Quote:

davejames wrote: (Post 7275340)
The only thing I thought didn't work at the end was the odd misdirect of the final theater scene. I'm not sure what the point was in making us think we were about to see Lincoln get shot, only to reveal that it already happened somewhere else.

Say huh??

I too was confused for a moment, because the production obviously wasn't the farce Our American Cousin. I thought, Spielberg couldn't possibly be messing with history like that, could he? Or was this some sort of vignette that preceded the Cousin performance, which I've never heard about?

But I think it's pretty clear what "the point" was: to focus not on the violence of the act, but on poor Tad's wild grief, which I found incredibly moving. And, as a bonus, it serves as a kind of middle finger to Booth, denying him his moment in the spotlight.

Though Ebert has a fair point in his review that the shot of Lincoln walking off would have made just as good a conclusion.



... I voted "classic", though it'll take a few more watches to really appreciate it fully - it's quite dense - and there were several speechifying moments when we got a bit of Ken Burns-esque score where no music would have been more powerful. But that's a minor complaint. Day-Lewis' performance, while not as stupendously entertaining as Bill the Butcher, will live forever.


And now I really want to see a Rome-style HBO show about the War years, told from both the leadership and grunt levels. :p

DarKush November 22 2012 04:02 PM

Re: Lincoln: Comments and reviews
 
Quote:

davejames wrote: (Post 7275340)
Whether it was accurate or not, I thought the sight of them together in bed at the end was an inspired moment-- just because of how perfectly normal and modern it all looked.

The only thing I thought didn't work at the end was the odd misdirect of the final theater scene. I'm not sure what the point was in making us think we were about to see Lincoln get shot, only to reveal that it already happened somewhere else.

Say huh??

Actually I sort of liked that. Because almost everyone who watched the film knew that Lincoln got shot in Ford's Theater. It's a scene that many are familiar with so I liked the idea of seeing the assassination from another angle.

It was confusing at first. I hadn't heard anything about his son being with him at the theater but once I saw what Spielberg did I liked it. It showed the emotional reactions from his son and the people, it showed how much Lincoln was loved and admired, of how painful his passing would be for the nation.

Perhaps Spielberg could've done a little better job showing what happened after the shooting, instead of going all gauzy with his camera. Also I wish they had shown that other people were also attacked that night. But then again, that might have took away from the misdirection/alternative angle he was going for.


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