|Topics:||🎞️ Film Analysis, ✔️ Political Science, Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Pop Art, ⚔️ Military Science, 📽️ Film Review|
It is important to appreciate the fact that the Lincoln movie is considered as a masterpiece in its way. Steven Spielberg has been accredited as a genius director, so his contribution to the movie “Lincoln” makes it nothing less than a masterpiece. Spielberg has been instrumental in taking us up close and personal in the manner in which he introduces the glory battlefield. In this case, it’s the civil war that takes precedence. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of United States of America, is seen struggling with personal pain and is devastated by the manner in which many young lives are being lost in the fierce war between North and South (Lincoln). He is trying to find a way in which he can bring the bloodshed to an end. On the other hand, he is determined to pass the 13th Amendment that would be responsible for ending slavery.
It is important to note that this movie is not just about the war but focuses on the politics that are taking shape behind the scenes in the quest of passing the historical amendment. Lincoln invested in ensuring he won all the votes he needed. He was willing to bribe, exchange money as well as promise jobs provided he rose to the highest office in the land. He was very convinced that he had to win all the necessary votes before the war came to an end since passing the amendment would turn out to be a tall order if this was not realized. In this case, it is evident that the movie “Lincoln” went beyond its way to becoming a masterpiece (NICOLAY).
In the movie, Daniel Day Lewis who takes the role of Abraham Lincoln ensures that his walk, mannerisms, and speech become a precise interpretation. He is instrumental in playing the role of the most powerful man in history, a trait that is admired by many. It is also important to appreciate the fact that Steven Spielberg turns out to be the most spectacular director through the movie “Lincoln.” His name alone is seen to carry a lot of promise, perfection, and potential. In addition to that, his work has proven to be extremely extraordinary, and in this movie, he has the privilege of working alongside other top actors in the field. “Lincoln” is way beyond an impressive film coupled with the fact that it is a good history lesson and a highly regarded motion picture accomplishment (Donald). This makes it a must see movie.
The accuracy of the movie is another important aspect that ought to be analyzed comprehensively. In general terms, it is believed that “Lincoln” is a very accurate movie. This response has been given based on a public reaction. The film is filled with some errors. One of the most common ones revolves around Mary Lincoln who has a lot of fear that Robert will be assassinated by a sniper. On the other hand, the word “sniper” never came to life during the Civil War. In this case, the most accurate and appropriate word that should have been used is “sharpshooter.” The question one would ask is whether this was a significant error. The answer, in this case, would disagree.
One renowned historical error is that which portrayed Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Grant is seen putting on a dress uniform while on the other hand, the actual submission is known to have taken place in a relatively quiet room. Throughout the film, one of the things that stand out is the manner in which Lincoln is shown telling stories. Interestingly, this happens to the exasperation of his staff. This is a clear indication that the movie is more than accurate. Research has shown that Lincoln was an inborn storyteller and a jokester who relied on stories to bring out a point. In addition to that, he is described as an individual who employed humor when faced with a difficult situation. His ability to tell stories was noted when he was still a teenager, something that he worked on and used quite often during his entire lifetime.
In the film, one of his longest stories talks about Ethan Allen, a British outhouse who also stands out as a hero. As much as the veracity of the story is still hard to tell, Lincoln is accredited for having referred to that specific story over and over again. It is important to note that Lincoln is a character who did not swear much (Rose). This script has veered from the reality in this regard. He was instrumental in using an off-color word but at no any time did he sear or use God’s name in vain, something that is evident in the film. It is natural for one to say virtually anything when angry but it is clear that Lincoln never cursed anyone or any situation as well as swear. Interestingly, he was the first person to discredit those who did hence the film has once again veered off course in illustrating this.
It is true that Thaddeus Stevens did have an African-American mistress. He is a character who goes to the extreme by having a sexual relationship with his faithful housekeeper Lydia Hamilton Smith who is a mixed race. A closer look into their lifestyle reveals that it is more than impossible to know the nature of their relationship since they portrayed a different image when in public. On the other hand, their sexual intimacy was often talked about by people who knew him well, and many historians have agreed to this notion. Stevens just as Lincoln was very welcoming to African-American individuals. One of the most memorable things about him is his passion towards having better race relationships, something that he firmly believed would be the foundation of a modern democracy.
When it comes to the question as to whether Abraham Lincoln allowed bribes and jobs in exchange for immense support for the 13th Amendment are still unclear in the movie. This is an area that has been given rapidly quick conclusions based on historical sources that are neither easily dismissed nor supported by facts. It is important to appreciate the fact that the handlers of Lincoln employed a similar way of today’s political lobbying in his quest to plead with reluctant Democrats to support his cause. On the other hand, it is quite difficult to know the nature of these interactions. Hence this leaves us with the conclusion that most of the scenes shown in the movies are historically correct and must not be taken whatsoever. All these are a clear indication of the manner in which Steven Spielberg has tried to introduce accuracy.
Another interesting issue that would put to the test the accuracy of the film is the question revolving around Thaddeus Stevens being an insulting and sarcastic debater. This is relatively true. There are some scenes in the film that can make the reader agree with this notion. It is important to note that quite some specific put downs coming out of his mouth in the film have not been recorded in the manner in which contemporary journals have. Each of his utterances has been treated uniquely with his vocal style and personality coming out strongly. Some scholars are in agreement that Thaddeus Stevens was a character who was more sarcastic than the manner in which he has been portrayed in the film. According to them, the film has not been vocal enough in showing this part of his character.
Another question that puts the film to the test revolves around Lincoln having a repeated dream before a major event (Cohn, Schmidt and Johnson). This is mostly right. As much as it is not recorded anywhere that he had that specific dream that related to the 13th Amendment, Lincoln always found himself referring to the dream on some occasions. In this case, it is conclusive to say that the Lincoln movie is historically accurate when looked at from some dimensions. Lastly, the movie indicates that Lincoln managed to meet with the rebel “PEACE COMMISSIONERS”. This is true. On the other hand, Lincoln at no any point recognized the leaders of this rebellion as being legit and the meeting that happened between them was merely based on public relations, something that the president needed considering his 13th Amendment (Donald). Therefore, the Lincoln movie has given a series of events that are accurate and timely.
- Cohn, Amy L, Suzy Schmidt, and David Johnson. Abraham Lincoln. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013. Print.
- Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. [Place of publication not identified]: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.
- Lincoln, The. “Abraham Lincoln – U.S. Presidents – HISTORY.Com.” HISTORY.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 July 2017.
- NICOLAY, JOHN G. SHORT LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. [S.l.]: FORGOTTEN BOOKS, 2016. Print.
- Rose, Annabel. Young Mr. Lincoln. 1st ed. New York: Life Office, 2014. Print.