"Don't waste that power."
What a waste. I was really looking forward to seeing this biopic on the Legendary 16th President, but this film simply fell flat. It was stuffy and drab and confusing and most certainly not entertaining. Daniel Day Lewis might very well be the best actor in my lifetime to cross the silver screen and he is a believable Honest Abe. He lumbers around solemnly raconteuring about stopping slavery and scheming ways to garner the necessary delegates needed to pass the 16th Amendment. His acting, along with Tommy Lee Jones' protruding portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens, is commendable and most likely will garnish nominations for upcoming awards. I feel like he did his part only to be let down by the direction of Steven Spielberg.
I will give Stevo credit for his attention to detail and his selection of a costume designer, as those two aspects of this movie (outside the previously mentioned actors) are just about the only positive things I can say. The garrulous rhetoric, while being most likely very historically accurate, was mind numbing and extremely hard to follow. I did not go to the movie house today to learn about what happened during this terrible stretch in our Nation's past, but rather to see a portrait of a man many people consider one of our country's greatest heroes. Too much time was wasted not focusing on Lincoln but rather the tumultuous events and people that surrounded him. I understand that it is a fine balance of events and character development that make great biopics great, but this one simply did not have it. This film was a wasted opportunity to really commemorate the legacy of dear Mr. Lincoln and was stodgy to say the least. Just because you take a legendary actor and give him the part of a lifetime does not mean that it is going to translate into a great movie and I really struggled to find the pulse of this picture. Instead of wasting two Abe Lincoln's at the theater, I would recommend grabbing the book that was used to loosely guide that events of the film, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is worth your time and its pages bring Abe to life in a way that is both enduring, heartfelt and riveting. Trust me.