Re: Rate the last movie you watched.
And my final Oscar reachin' movie of this much needed long weekend wound up being my least favorite. Speilberg's Lincoln.
Starting with the good, DDL is as expected, spectacular as Lincoln. The casual likable storytelling element of the character's folk lore is spot on. Sally Field's Mary Todd Lincoln is both pitiable and wholly unlikable at the same time, as should be the case. And Tommy Lee Jones provides an element of comic relief (along with Lincoln yarn spinning), that is much needed in what is a dense 2.5 hour movie. And also as I expected, the production value is second to none. Costume and set design are breathtaking.
I'm not sure what the cause of my issues are. In part it may be because I know a good deal about the source material. I've read probably a dozen Lincoln books. I knew a lot of what was being told, and maybe that made the deliberate pacing seem worse, and probably left the 13th amendment House debating too front and center, and too dry (although a lot of it is really interesting, and hearing people walk out in disbelief that that's how they behaved was fun).
But the movie feels like one siloloque after another after another after another in spots. The nature of the Lincoln character means that even general dialogue, family dialogue with his wife, is gonna have to rich and thick. And the way it's cut together doesn't give you much seperation from scene to scene. It's almost as if you had your eyes' closed, you'd not immediately realize that the stage had changed from the House of Representatives, to Lincoln's cabinet, to his bedroom with his wife.
The swooning score that left a bad taste in my mouth during the trailer, I actually felt wasn't used enough in the first couple acts, as it would've helped to change the tone from setting to setting. But that seperation felt thin to me, if that makes any sense.
The trademark Speilberg hokieness that has gotten worse in his later years only made a few appearances. Once right off the bat when two black soldiers are talking to Lincoln, in a manner the most off kilter right wing nut today wouldn't speak to the current Commander in Chief, and in a manner and black man wouldn't speak at that time to passing lecherous white man ... let alone talk to Abraham Lincoln in that fashion. Then again at the end with a moment with Tommy Lee Jones' character that was evident the moment he opened the door.
I sort of disagree with the choice regarding the assassination. And I'm also a little troubled with the fact that I sat through a two and half hour Lincoln movie and didn't hear the Gettysburgh adress in anything but pieces spoken by other people. I also would've liked a more serious look at the cabinet. William Seward, perhaps the greatest american no one knows about, is little more than a message boy. And he was the thing I took most from the book that the movie is allegedly based on. In fact he's such a compelling character that after the success of the book, the author went on to write a book exclusively about Seward. But whatever.
I feel like this is a decent movie held together by a tremendous performance that is depicting a monumental figure. But it's a clunkily told story told through too much era specific legalese that for large chunks of it's narrative looses touch with the character of Lincoln that's at it's heart, and those are the parts that work.
I'd give it a mid 80s, and warn that it's not for everyone. It would help if you're into sort of serious courtroom style drama movies, or are at least somewhat historically inclined.
I felt that There Will Be Blood was a really good movie elevated to the cusp of greatness by a singular performance by DDL, a great surprise performance by Paul Dano, and heartstopping ending that had me leave the theatre more taken aback than I was during the body of the movie ... Lincoln doesn't have anyone else give a performance as good as Dano's, and frankly *** Spoiler Warning *** ... I already knew Lincoln would die and the North would win.