Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Team of Rivals" Gets a Boost from "Lincoln"

2 editions of the book in Amazon's top 100 best sellers.  The movie is "based in part" on the book.

As of 6:40 p.m. (11/18/2012), 56 holds on this 2005 publication in LINKcat.

Is the movie any good, you might be wondering?

Well, here's what I wrote to my brother and sister-in-law earlier today.

JoAnna and I went to see Lincoln, the latest movie from Steven Spielberg, on Friday evening. With Daniel Day-Lewis is the title role, I wasn’t sure what to expect and, to be truthful, walked into the theater with low expectations. This approached appeared to be confirmed as I cringed my way through a stilted, woodenly acted opening scene.

Oh my god, I thought. It’s “Forrest Gump” all over again.

Forrest Gump is my shorthand for a critically acclaimed and popularly embraced movie that I seem to be the only person who dislikes.

Once the movie focused on its primary storyline, Lincoln’s no-holds-barred efforts to force the House of Representative to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States, I became thoroughly entranced. Every aspect of the movie – acting, direction, cinematography, script, lighting, sound, costume, even makeup – is worthy of Oscar consideration.

“The movie was so real, it was like being a fly on the wall,” JoAnna observed as we drove home.

“I had the exact same feeling,” I agreed.

It’s an example where a clich√© becomes a reality. The viewer is truly drawn into this movie, as though he is actually there in Washington D.C. in the early months of 1865 observing the events taking place. 

The movie is literally dark, in that Spielberg attempts to capture realistically how people lived before the invention of electricity. It’s not an experience that will translate easily to home or individual viewing. Watching it on a screen size of greatly reduced size, such as the laptop which I’m currently using, will squish most of the life and accompanying context out of it. But then I feel this way about most recent movies, particularly those given blockbuster status, which is one of the reasons that JoAnna and I don’t watch DVDs or streamed movies at home.

Day-Lewis fully inhabits the role of Abraham Lincoln in the same way that Meryl Streep gets inside and fully burrows into the real-life characters she portrays – Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher. Watching him act in his extended scenes, I became mesmerized into believing that I was actually watching Lincoln himself – the actual man strategizing, agonizing, joking, raging.  That just like JoAnna, I, too, was a fly on the wall. Two days later, numerous scenes from the movie still regularly play in my head.

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