Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lincoln 2012

I was able to see Lincoln this past weekend and it is definitely worth seeing. Don't be put off by the length of the film (2.5 hours) but by all means, swing by the outhouse on the way in. And don't go for the big gulp drink with your popcorn.

Steven Spielberg was eager to make this film, and he very early obtained the film rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, although he only used the last few months of Lincoln's life as her wonderful book is a bit of a doorstop.  (Mental note to buy this book for The Squire for Christmas as he enjoyed the film as much as I did. Good thing he doesn't read my blog!)

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

First of all, just give the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis right now. He is the reason this film works so well and you will feel privileged to spend some time with him as Abraham Lincoln. He grips you right from the first time you see him, from behind, and doesn't let you go until you leave the theatre.

Abraham Lincoln: I could write shorter sermons but when I get started I'm too lazy to stop. 

Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln

I have never been a big fan of Sally Field (I remember not caring if she lost the farm in Places in the Heart) but she really does a great job here playing Mary Todd Lincoln. She put on 25 lbs, a la Bridgette Jones, in order to more closely resemble the former first lady. And although I doubt she will win an Academy Award for this performance, she did make me care about a woman who didn't want to lose her son in the war, after losing 2 sons to illness already. And she did seem to have fun taking on Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens!

Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens

The wig on Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens should really get an award unto itself. But seriously, TLJ is one of the best things about this film. I won't let loose any spoilers, but his scene near the end is one of my faves. He is a real scene stealer in this film.

James Spader as W.N. Bilbo

Speaking of scene stealers, James Spader is an absolute hoot as W.N. Bilbo, the slightly slimy lobbyist whom Lincoln had released from jail to assist him in passing the 13th amendment. He has come a long way from Steff in Pretty in Pink!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln

Brilliant idea of Spielberg's to cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln's eldest son Robert. This gives the viewpoint of the young man, champing at the bit to do his part in the Civil War but having to deal with his mother who wants him nowhere near the danger of the fighting. Tell your kids they have to see it because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it. They will love the whole film but it will get them in the door.

This film is one that doesn't wow with special effects (there is only one battle scene and only enough gore to bring home the horrors of war without overdoing). It does however stay with you long after you leave the theatre. It is so relevant to today in it's view on politics and war and humanity. Bravo to all involved!

P.S. As a Canadian watching this film, I was a little confused as the Republicans were mostly liberal and the Democrats were mostly conservative, but I guess things have changed in 150 odd years. Actually, in Canada, our first Prime Minister was from the Liberal-Conservative party, so apparently we were covering all the bases in those days!

Tiffany & Co. Seed Pearl Necklace set worn by Mary Todd Lincoln
I just had to add that I love that they had Sally Field wear a replica of Mary Todd Lincoln's Tiffany & Co. seed pearl necklace and matching bracelets. Watch out for them!


  1. If you really want your head to explode, please consider that all black Americans were Republicans and all white Southerners were Democrats -- because of Lincoln -- until pretty recently. Now, things have reversed entirely.

  2. talented cast for sure. love Daniel Day Lewis in romantic period dramas. love Tommy Lee Jones period.

  3. I absolutely loved it! Tommy Lee Jones had all the best lines...but I was jolted out of the story whenever the actors who played Ulysses Grant and Congressman Ashley showed up, because I know those actors so well from Mad Men (Lane Pryce) and Breaking Bad (Gale Boetticher). Oh how I loved the way those congressmen tore each other up in ways that only 19th century language can do!




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