The Gotham Gal and I saw Lincoln yesterday. I would encourage everyone, certainly every american citizen, to see it. Spielberg creates a time machine via the magic of film. And Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln is masterful. I feel like I got to spend 2 1/2 hours with my favorite President yesterday.
We all know the stories we were told in elementary school about the heroic President who went to war with his own country in order to save it. We all know his speeches and about his upbringing in a one room log cabin. That was enough to make Lincoln a hero of mine since childhood.
But what Spielberg and Day-Lewis capture is Lincoln's masterful manipulation of the american political system to cause it to do things considered impossible by both sides, most notably the passage of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery once and for all.
The film is based loosely on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team Of Rivals which is about Lincoln's political genius. I haven't read that book but I am certainly most tempted to after watching Lincoln.
But more than anything, the film conveys the greatness of this man. In the scene where he lies in his deathbed after the doctor declares the fight for his life over, you get a sense that Lincoln was a saint sent to our country in a time of need. There's also this one scene I can't get out of my head where he sits in the telegraph room trying to figure out what to tell Grant about the delegation from Richmond. He wonders outloud about his purpose and God's role in it.
The history of the United States is one where the right person showed up in times of need. Washington, Lincoln, FDR. We have been blessed to have heroic leaders in our most difficult moments. If you want to get a real sense of Lincoln's greatness, go see the movie. It is terrific.