10 Responses to “Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” for real this time”
I’m keeping an open mind, but I hope Spielberg isn’t slipping back to Amistad/Saving Private Ryan territory here (and I say that acknowledging that there are a lot of things I like in Saving Private Ryan in addition to a lot of things I don’t). It looks as though it could go there or rise above that.
The trailer makes this seem like hagiology.
Spielberg has said that the only portrayals of Lincoln since the 1930s (Henry Fonda as “Young Mr. Lincoln”) have been parodies and he wants to reclaim him, so it may well turn out to be hagiography in the sense that it’s putting him on a pedestal, but then Joseph Gordon Levitt who plays Lincoln’s son said he thinks the movie humanizes Lincoln. Showing his flaws as well as his strengths.
Both of them are maybe just talking out of their asses, but Spielberg and Day-Lewis’ track records are enough for me to hope for the best. The trailer naturally is simplified and exaggerated, that’s what trailers do. If the whole movie plays just like this, it would be kind of unbearable, but I’d be shocked if that was the case.
Even if Spielberg slips into his Amistad/Private Ryan/War Horse “this is just too important to for words” mode (and I say that as one who loves War Horse, accepts Ryan warts and all and doesn’t hate Amistad) DDL’s performance alone has the chance to elevate this to the level of a must-see.
Well, to be honest no human being is perfect but as far as American presidents go, Lincoln is probably the closest we have to a saint (the liberal in me wants to put Roosevelt as a close second).
I would hope that Spielberg is being honest when he says he wants to reclaim Lincoln in a more honest sense, but I wonder if he’s particularly apt for that job? This trailer plays as an awards-baity mainstream trailer, so I won’t attempt to judge the film on it, but Spielberg has not previously shown a proclivity for realistic portrayals of real people (accepting that maybe three of his films are in this particular vein). I’m not questioning his capabilities, just the reality of his previous stylistic choices.
But I’ll be there opening weekend for this because I’m certainly intrigued.
Has Spielberg fallen back in love with ‘Scope?! Munich, Crystal Skull, Tintin, War Horse and now Lincoln? Cool.
I see Hal Ashby love persists here at LiC, too. And rightly so. :-)
After sleeping on it, I don’t really care if Spielberg is realistic or canonizes Lincoln as long as the film is good. I can see the potential for solid films with either approach, although Lincoln really deserves something grounded in historical truth. We Americans have been bandying our Presidential mythology quite a bit in the last decade.
Yeah I’m pretty sure Spielberg is going for hagiography. It’s Gordon-Levitt who suggested that Lincoln is show warts and all.
I’m with you though. If it’s hagiography, I say bring it. As long as it’s honest too. Let it be a celebration.
Alexander, LiC loves itself some Ashby. What’s not to love?
Looks like it’s time to trot out Doris Kearns Goodwin on the talk show circuit.
I had the hagiography reflex, too. Someone mentioned that Day Lewis demanded on set that crew members address him as “Mr. President.” The guy is extreme. For some reason I’m interested in how Field plays Mrs. Lincoln — and Joseph Gordon Leavitt certainly has the physical features to play this period.
I’m skeptical about Spielberg’s ability to excel at this material without making me dizzy from grandeur, but you can be sure I’ll be in my theater seat as soon as it opens.
I’ll be there. Despite the moderate skepticism I remain firmly optimistic.
I’m such a nerd, I love Doris Kearns Goodwin. Historian, baseball fan… what’s not to love??
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