Lincoln: Comments and reviews

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by stj, Nov 18, 2012.

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How did you feel about the movie Lincoln?

Poll closed Dec 3, 2012.
  1. Boring and heavy handed

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Just mediocre all round

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Good acting but too much politics

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Predict it will be a classic

    100.0%
  1. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  2. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    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.
     
  4. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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:
     
  6. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  7. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, dramatically, it worked very well.
     
  8. Shanndee

    Shanndee Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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??
     
  10. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A little sampling of dissentient opinions:

    http://conservativetimes.org/?p=12608

    http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/ffc/2012/11/lincoln-2012.html

    http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2012/11/lincoln_movie_review_daniel_da.html

    http://observer.com/2012/11/lincoln-rex-reed-daniel-day-lewis-tommy-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.
     
  12. Garak

    Garak I Will Not Bow To Any Sponsor Premium Member

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  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^Marx had it backwards, first time is farce, the second time is tragedy?

    PS From HNN:

    http://hnn.us/articles/kate-masur-spielberg%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98lincoln%E2%80%99-passive-black-characters#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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  14. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    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
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wiki is not reliable on any controversial subject, and Thaddeus Stevens is still controversial.

    Consider this Atlantic article: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/11/fact-checking-lincoln/265073/

    The guy writing this actually thought that the movie's Thaddeus Stevens was an antihero! It is true that the movie allows people to interpret Lincoln's moderation in a wholly positive light. It is also true that this version of Stevens is there to put his leadership into context, for those who choose to watch the movie.

    In particular, the Doris Kearns Goodwin contribution (slight as it truly is) is waved about in reviews as proof that the takeway message really is that compromise, including moral compromises, are true leadership. I think that if you assume that you are misreading your own beliefs into the script.

    Yes, you can think for example that Lincoln's observation that scolding slavers will not convert them is clever. Or you can make your own observation that the idea of waiting upon the conversion of slavers is merely superficially practical. That in fact it assumes that nothing can be done without the approval of people who will never consent to the loss of their power, which is not practical. This assumption is manifest folly.

    In this movie, Lincoln puts the Thirteenth Amendment ahead of a chance to make peace. It is very likely that the movie took a chance association between the amendment vote and the commissioners' visit to replay in small the choice that Lincoln made at the outset of his term. He refused to give up the restriction of slavery in favor of a peace. In 1861 it was merely refusing to abandon his platform of restricting the expansion of slavery, instead of abolition. Nonetheless, Lincoln chose war over defending slavery any longer.

    A lot of people want to interpret this movie as current political commentary. If you do, imagine President Obama being confronted by Tony Kushner, asking the President to try leading for a change.
     
  17. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That article is similarly unambiguous about Stevens and the woman having a long-term relationship.

    I'm also not sure what your point is in quoting all these mindless right-wing "reviews". I think it's pretty well established at this point that you can find right-wing hate directed at pretty much anything somewhere on the Internet, especially where openly liberal artists such as Spielberg are concerned.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Rex Reed is not an internet nobody. Masur may be fake left but she isn't a mindless rightwinger. The New Republic isn't mindless rightwing in the sense intended either. These reviews are already aiming against any validation of the movie by Oscar wins.

    The point is to get people to actually think about this movie, instead of pigeonholing it.
     
  19. Brolan

    Brolan Commodore Commodore

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    Awesome movie. The reviews are running 90% good at Rotten Tomatoes and I whole-heartedly agree with them.
     
  20. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    I just got back, and really enjoyed it.
     

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