Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

The Movie

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?”

I have to admit that this film really moved me. As it is I’m a history buff and, living in Alexandria Virginia, I’m used to seeing or hearing about historical events almost on a daily basis.

Still, now and then a historical movie does manage to rise above the rest. Lincoln is one such film.

Physically, emotionally, historically, and spiritually it feels like it does take you back in time. Yet the politicking and jawboning are immediately recognizable to anyone who pays attention to politics and government.

What most impressed me? What Lincoln illustrates is the not-so-simple fact that, now and then, public officials do have to wrestle with profoundly important issues that cannot just be kicked down the road. What we see in Lincoln is how government officials dealt over 100 years ago with the immediacy of two great evils, war and slavery. You can’t get more profound than that. With an appropriate window you see what really motivates people and what they’re made of, good and bad. This film is such a window.

The Lincoln presented here walks a subtle line between human and saint. From what I have read I suspect this portrayal might actually be closer to the real Lincoln than anything we’ve seen before on the screen.

The Music

On a whim I bought John Williams soundtrack music. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a much less bombastic Williams than what we’ve heard from previous Spielberg films and much more human.

Review copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald

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