November 24, 2012
Lincoln as the liberals see him
No movie could match the expectations we have for Abraham Lincoln. This movie had the Spielberg genius for the visual arts, and strong performances by Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, and David Straithorn. But in my opinion, its principal weakness was the screenplay by Tony Kushner. It was flawed by the "Hollywood liberal" distortion that the Civil War was all about the evil of slavery. It was not. Lincoln hated slavery, but his principal goal was the preservation of the Union. (He once said that if he could save the Union by making every State a slave State, he would do it.). By choosing the snippet of Lincoln's life that focused on the 13th Amendment, this movie became less than it could have been (even at 2.5 hr length). The disappointment might have been avoided by a different title, say, The 13th Amendment, rather than the name of our most beloved President. When you call your movie Lincoln, you are raising great expectations.
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