Last evening we went to see the new "Lincoln" movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the Odeon in Stillorgan. We were not out of place in the (mostly) middle-aged audience - this screening was sold-out. The movie is 2.5 hours long and it is an effort to concentrate all the way through - as you must. However, it is well worth the effort, with Daniel Day-Lewis putting in a master class though I thought Tommie Lee Jones was also outstanding (there should be a preservation order put on his face).
Despite the fact that we all know the outcome of the American Civil War, what happened to Lincoln, and the result of the vote on the 13th Amendment (which outlawed slavery) - the tension is kept up throughout in what surely must be one of Steven Spielberg's finest ever movies. It is hard to nowadays believe that members of the Democratic Party in the US voted against the amendment to abolish slavery, especially since the first African-American President is a Democrat. The arguments on both sides were well put forward, and behind it all was a lot of lobbying and pressure being put on Congressmen to vote either way (just like today!). The Amendment is really what the movie is about, with Lincoln's role a central theme - but the war taking a secondary role.
Lincoln is portrayed in the movie as a great leader, politician, and emancipator of slaves - he was not always thus. It is worth noting that in 1858 Lincoln stated, in a debate with his rival for the presidency Stephen Douglas, in Charleston "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people" (quoted from "A. Lincoln" by Ronald C. White). Nevertheless, his attitude changed somewhat during the war.
I absolutely recommend this movie to everyone, and I will make it part of my film library when it comes out on Blu-ray. Here's the trailer...