My first reaction, walking out of the theater after the credits, was to ask my wife, “How is it possible that the same guy who directed a terrifying movie like War of the Worlds could then go on to do something like LIncoln?”
Back in my early days of reviewing films when my kids were growing up and still at home I created a special category called “Young People” where I placed movies that didn’t treat cinema kids like idiots or totally obsessed with sex and fart jokes.
I grew up with the science fiction of Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein. At their best they wrestled with humans coming to terms with very large ideas and concepts in stories that spanned years and vast distances. I especially loved depictions of the far future.
That the issues raised by this faux history of events kicked off by the massacre of Israelis at the 1972 Olympics are still so relevant is a testament to Spielberg’s intelligence and sense of morality.
It also helps that he’s a terrific film-maker who is willing to attack complex topics in an intelligent, personal, and thoughtful way.