“Abraham Lincoln has asked to work with him to accomplish the death of slavery,” says Thaddeus Stevens limned by Tommy Lee Jones in the latest film, Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and written for screen by Tony Kushner; based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Lincoln is not about the life of Abraham Lincoln, it concentrates on one of the events during the presidency of the 16th President. It was announced about few years ago that Mr. Spielberg wanted to make a film about Abraham Lincoln, a figure, whose existence, I believe was essential for the era that he lived in, essential for the present, so we can look back now and realize the importance of humanity then in future the new generation understands that what happened in the past was not only necessary, but was also the right act.
I’ve always believed, if one decides to bring Lincoln on screen was going to be an arduous task as Lincoln is one of the toughest historical figures to get right on paper and then on film. But, Mr. Spielberg, the master that he is, had a plan from the beginning. This is Mr. Spielberg’s most ambitious and mature film. As the director, Mr. Spielberg’s consecrated mind and heart, in order to get the film right, has successfully achieved in telling us a history lesson. Less sentimental, for it is not an historical biopic; the advantage of the final four months from the pages of history has been taken here with much care and love. Therefore focusing on less sentimentality and more on the importance of what Lincoln was trying to achieve as the leader of the nation was more essential. Mr. Spielberg knew from the beginning that even though ‘Lincoln’ is not going to bring the entire life of the man, it will still turn into a larger historical moment. It is about the gravity of that era and Lincoln’s faith in humanity, discipline and love for all man on earth. The film is an ensemble piece; every actor in their respective roles has earned respect even more, even though Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones are the names, who dominate.
The moment that Daniel Day-Lewis appears on the screen as Lincoln, his presence naturally grabs attention and convinces one with his commanding performance from the beginning. Walking slowly among the crowd of audience as the end credits commenced rolling during John Williams’ powerful score, was a moment that I will never forget. It was calm, it made everyone perhaps realized that living in peace, and respect for all is not so difficult. It took me literally ten minutes to step out from this historical auditorium. I felt that the President gave his speech not on the screen, but in person. Too close, too personal and too right. Important figures have lived on this very beautiful planet of ours. From Lincoln to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Teresa, and their purpose in life was to teach us that nothing is powerful and essential than love and respect for all. We are innocuous and too fragile. Our past, no matter how shameful or beautiful, it is part of us. Alive today, to realize that we’re people. Free and beautiful. As a holy book, in our hands, our history should be kept warm close to our chests.
Mr. Spielberg’s Lincoln is beautiful, powerful and a monumental achievement. These are not my words. These are the terms I heard people whispering and murmuring as they walked out from the auditorium.