It has been revealed that Daniel Day-Lewis went to the Lincoln library in Springfield, Illinois, and obtained permission to walk privately among the exhibits and actually touch letters Lincoln had written as President. Day-Lewis is a method actor, so coming in as close a contact as possible with Lincoln and his life was important. It all resulted in a miraculous performance worthy of an Oscar nomination.
“Lincoln” is a movie that deals with the final months of his Presidency, his efforts (not always above-board) to get the 13th Amendment passed to abolish slavery and to close out a victory against the Confederate Army. Lincoln realized and anguished over the price in human sacrifice the War was taking, including over 600,000 casualties and thousands more permanently injured by wounds and disease. His sense of moral responsibility to end slavery went far beyond ending the Civil War. This movie details Lincoln as a man of conscious and great native intelligence, a person who could be harsh when he needed to be but normally was able to obtain consensus through common sense and the respect others had for him.
Sally Field is flawless as Lincoln’s loving but emotionally challenged wife, Mary Todd.
Tommy Lee Jones give an Oscar worthy performance in a best supporting actor sense as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, a leading abolitionist in the House of Representative. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Lincoln’s older son, Robert, who enlists in the Union Army against the wishes of Lincoln and his wife. David Strathairn appears as secretary of state William Seward.
Steve Spielberg has put together a film so historically interesting and relevant that you may want to see it more than once. Production design is so accurate it is as if history were filmed when it actually happened. Lincoln’s assassination is handled in a very creative way that really adds to its impact.
Lincoln lives in this film, and his legacy is given such a faithful and authentic treatment it makes this motion picture truly a biographical movie of singular excellence and achievement,