The Conversation

'Lincoln' Review: Republicans as Heroes, Democrats as Wicked Racists

Though about 20 minutes too long, Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" is still the director's best film in over a decade and a surprisingly compelling political story that details the backroom dealing and arm-twisting required to pass the 13th Amendment -- which finally and forever abolished the abomination of American slavery in 1865.

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Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar playing America's 16th president who's presented as a genius when it comes to blending principle with political reality. Contrary to the fervent beliefs of those around him, including his own cabinet and wife (Sally Field), Lincoln knew it was now or never: He had just been re-elected, there were a number of lame-duck Democrats about to be out of Congress and in need of a job, and once the Civil War was won (which would be soon) public support to reopen the wound of slavery just wouldn’t be there.

Though based on 150 year-old history, the political wheeling-and-dealing doesn't feel at all dated, nor do the ideals, drive, manipulative charm, and political acumen of our protagonist.

The supporting performers are well cast, and Spielberg does an admirable job keeping the story moving and suspenseful, even though we know the outcome.

What is most surprising, though, is seeing a  high-profile piece of Oscar-bait where a Republican (Lincoln) and Republicans in general are the good guys and Democrats are the bitterly racist villains. This historical fact gets more than a mention from Spielberg and his screenwriter Tony Kushner; it's a major part of the story.

"Lincoln" is available at
Amazon.com.


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