134. Lincoln (A-)
Steven Spielberg's decade-long quest to adapt Team of Rivals
finally arrives on the screen...based on events that take up about a half-dozen pages of the book. This is the eighteenth of his movies I've seen, pushing him into the position of my most-watched director of all-time (breaking a tie with Woody Allen).
The result is a pretty good movie, featuring a Daniel Day-Lewis performance for the ages. Honestly some of the most immersive acting I've ever seen on screen; if we brought the real Lincoln into the present day for a comparison, I wouldn't be surprised if he was a lot like this. He's supported by a pretty formidable supporting cast, including Tommy Lee Jones (in one of his best roles in a while, and giving a nice boost in prominence to an undeservedly neglected historical figure), Sally Field, David Straithairn, and half a hundred notable character actors in one- or two-scene parts. Also, in what I must assume is a visual gag, Hal Holbrook is a dead ringer for Teddy Kennedy while playing Preston Blair.
A lot of people have said they think the movie should have ended slightly before it does, and I think that's probably true, though the added few minutes don't detract in any meaningful way. This is quite a change of pace for Spielberg. It's the most performance-driven film of this that I've ever seen, and quite stylistically restrained (as so many reviewers have observed). It might actually have done with a bit more sentiment at the end -- Lincoln's death (spoiler!) is handled in a pretty muted manner.
Cinema: 45 (+1)
Home Video: 76