^ Stevens' Wiki article is pretty unambiguous on the relationship, FWIW...
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.
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.