(First movie review! Yay! I picked one at random that I liked; let me know if you want me to do some more movie reviews or not in the comments section!)
Lincoln (2012) is directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel-Day Lewis as the title character. The film is based on the (amazing) book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and follows President Lincoln's efforts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment during the last months of the American Civil War in 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment was made to free all slaves in the United States, since Lincoln was concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation from 1863 would be discarded once the war was over.
The film's main cast includes Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd and oldest son Robert, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. The main focus is on all the political complications, issues, debates, and resolve having to do with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment. The final battles of the Civil War are also touched on in a couple scenes. However at the very center of the film is really the character of Abraham Lincoln. The film neither romanticizes or criticizes Lincoln, showing both his audacity and strong virtue in office as well as the struggles of his personal life.
Lincoln is a great film for anybody who is interested in Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War. It's a blend of both political drama in the House and a picture of American life in the final months of the war specifically for the Lincoln family. Neither the strengths nor flaws of any of the cast are glossed over, and the actors all do a wonderful and respectful job of portraying them, especially Daniel-Day Lewis. However, unlike what the opening scene might imply for some, the film is not about Civil War battles or soldiers, so those looking for a film like Gettysburg will be disappointed. Also, for those who are not knowledgeable about American history it will be hard to follow. Finally a lot of the plot is focused on politics, so people who don't know how Constitutional Amendments are passed, or anything about voting and debating and so on, will have to watch Lincoln a few times to understand it.
All in all it is one of the best historical movies I've seen, and it did not disappoint. Don't be expecting a Civil War epic or a Lincoln biopic, though. And it would be a good idea to brush up on your Civil War history a bit before watching it. Or just read the book the film was based on, Team of Rivals, which I did...the book really helps clarify a lot, plus it gives the full history of Lincoln's years as President.
If you don't mind a more slow-paced movie with a lot of heavy dialogue and some drama, but an accurate and positive look in a dark era in the history of the United States, you will enjoy it a lot!
The Good: Brilliant, emotional film - historically accurate - wonderful portrayal of historical characters - a vivid representation of Civil War era in American history
The Bad: Hard to follow for people who don't know American history or political terms - the slow pace might turn away some viewers - opening scene is slightly misleading to the pace and focus of the film
Warnings: The opening scene is a grisly look at one of the battles, and there is also one graphic scene showing soldiers' amputations - there is scattered vulgarity - some thematic elements such as the loss of a child and Lincoln's assassination.