Given that I was schooled in the United States for a good portion of my education, included in the curriculum, were bits of American history.  As I sat watching Lincoln last night with some of my sister-friends, I remembered writing a report in Grade three about some of his accomplishments and, of course, this morning, dug through my sorted archives and found this crayon illustration, all that remains over these many years, of my report.

Abe LincolnI’m certain that the memories of these lessons and the experience of the then-patriotic sensibility of the citizens that surrounded me, caused me to feel more attached to the narrative.  I remember the morning pledge…hand held over heart and the flags flying from poles in the neighbourhoods where I lived.

From Wikipedia: Lincoln is a 2012 American historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.

I think that it’s important to remember that the film is in the genre of historical drama.  As such, it can feel long at times.  Some of the reading material that I choose takes on this same sensibility, but my interest in the context overrides my frustration with the historical detail and seeming analysis.  Other films that have had these sorts of moments, but have been more successful are The Iron LadyJ. Edgar and Nixon.  I think that in these, devices such as flash back and a more intimate psychological development of the protagonist, created more empathy in the viewer.

Steven Spielberg gives us some idea of Lincoln’s personal struggle in the scenes shared between Lincoln and Mary.  Lincoln’s admission that he wish to crawl into the ground next to his son Willie every day of his life comes out of one of the most powerful of these scenes.

I don’t think that anyone can deny that the basis for this story is a powerful one and that it represents a concept that citizens of the world continue to struggle with and that is the sense of lawful equality among all people…dignity…and justice.  And because this is such a huge concept, at times, this movie does not feel LARGE enough.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


1 thought on “Lincoln

  1. Thank you for this very interesting review, and personal reflection about the film. I hesitate to watch it, because I haven’t liked most of Spielberg’s films. However, I have read quite a bit of Lincoln, and so I’m tempted to see it.

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