Spielberg’s Lincoln

Steven Spielberg’s take on the life of Abraham Lincoln hits theaters November 16.  Smithsonian Magazine‘s review of the film, along with an interview with Spielberg, can be found here.

We invited interested parties to send us their responses to the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln.

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One thought on “Spielberg’s Lincoln

  1. I found the movie to be an insightful look at Lincoln’s character and personality. He was portrayed masterfully by Daniel Day-Lewis as the balance of a keen and ambitious lawyer-type who finds loopholes and pushes envelopes in order to get his desired outcome, and a deep emotional-introvert committed to his family and struggling to remain its pillar despite their significant losses and unrest.

    It was surprising to consider that he seemingly gambled the fate of the nation and the conclusion of the civil war in order to ensure the successful passage of the 13th amendment, a feat which involved deliberately stalling a delegation of the Confederate army, yet denying it to all the right people, while also making political promises to the necessary swing votes in order to ensure a “yes” vote in the House of Representatives. Such calculated political risks would not be imaginable (or legal) in this day and age yet, they were feasible and crucial in order for Lincoln to set the precedent in the soon-to-be reunited nation that all people were to be seen and treated equally before the eyes of the law.

    It is interesting to consider this idea and then compare it to our current politics where States allow officers to use their discretion in judging people and deciding whether they may be illegal/undocumented or whether they might be in possession of illegal substances and/or weapons. Doesn’t seem like fair and equal treatment of all people in our Nation, does it?

    While at the time this notion of equal treatment for all before the law was seemingly radical and contentious; one of my favorite people in the movie was Thaddeus Stevens, played artfully by Tommy Lee Jones, who wanted a much more dramatic writing of the 13th amendment which would allow for full equality among all people. The idea that people like him, so progressive for their time, had to concede their true desires and hopes for this Constitutional change in order to make certain short-term gains was not something I had previously considered. In the movie, Lincoln provided Stevens with an analogy of using a compass to stay on True North, but being so focused on the compass as to allow himself to navigate into a swap and get stuck. Lincoln asks him, “a proper moral compass is not everything, for what good is your morality if your stubbornness continues to hurt your cause?” It was such a simple yet profound thing to share and was one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

    All in all, it was a dramatic, thrilling, emotionally-charged, and excellently portrayed film.

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