Watching Lincoln

February 2, 2013

Finally got round to watching Lincoln last night – finally in the sense that it’s been available to moviegoers across the water for months and has generated an unavoidable hype. Expectations were high, and were largely met. Daniel Day-Lewis is just as astonishing as he’s said to be, simply an incredible example of an actor allowing himself to disappear into a role. The dialogue is sparkling and surprisingly for a film about such a momentous time there’s plenty of laugh-out-loud humour. Tommy Lee-Jones overacts with Pacino-esque brio, and the supporting cast swarms with brilliance: Jackie Earle Haley as the Vice President of the Confederacy and Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant were my personal favourites. The person I watched the film with was distracted from fully similar enjoyment by the schmaltz, which was fairly frequent – stirring music, dramatic lighting, portentous tones – what you might call ‘West Wing 39 moments’: the point a minute from the end of almost every episode of Sorkin’s series when things would take a turn for the patriotic and soppy. There’s no pleasing some people.


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