Just how do you single out a great performance in a Film where every performance is just as solid as the other? In Lincoln, revered Director Steven Spielberg brings to the Big Screen the final months in the life of one of America’s most beloved Presidents, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis). The Film focuses on his tireless Fight for the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which in effect put an end to Slavery in the United States and also a Union Victory in the Civil War.
In addition to getting a look at Lincoln‘s v. public challenges in persuading the House of Representatives to side with him and also putting an end to the War, we get a candid look at his hands-on approach and interpersonal relationships with the Men who helped build his Legacy. At the same time, we also see his more personal struggles such as his sometimes-troubled relationship with supportive Wife Mary (Sally Field) and also his coping with Son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) going against his wishes to enlist in the Union Army. Through his 12-year-old Son Tad (Gulliver McGrath), we see his affectionate side as a nurturing Father.
Is Lincoln as emotional and grand as Spielberg‘s last Best Picture Contender, War Horse? That remains to be seen as this veers more to the needs of the Thinking Man/Woman than say Family Drama territory, but the superb performances here are served to us in a Who’s Who Parade of top-tier Talent. Tommy Lee Jones as sharp-tongued Republican Leader Thaddeus Stevens is commanding – at once, we are never quite sure where his loyalties lie. Brilliant turns from the Trio of James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson and John Hawkes give the Film a much-needed human dimension, amidst the verbose political Dialogue.
Two-time Academy Award Winner Day-Lewis undoubtedly is the true Heart & Soul of Lincoln transforming ever-so-convincingly as he disappears completely into the Role, owning every word which comes from his mouth as if we were witnessing the President himself. Field, a two-time Academy Award Winner herself too, also delivers with fiery conviction even if she is seen far too little, making every moment she appears so memorable.
If Lincoln could be faulted for one thing, it would be that while focusing so intently on process that we fail to get the true essence of the troubled climate him and his Men were facing, in order to appreciate fully the magnitude of their accomplishments. Ultimately, when the Film does touches upon Lincoln‘s Death, yet the feeling of loss is never as tragic as it should be for a Film which ultimately should serve as a glowing Tribute to a remarkable Man. Expect Lincoln to be well-represented particularly in the Acting Categories come Awards Season.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada releases Lincoln in Toronto Friday, November 9, 2012, while expanding the following week across Canada.