Movie Reviews: Lincoln

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln opens in just 11 theaters this weekend, testing whether a film so conceived and so dedicated can endure when it opens wide next weekend. If word of mouth is anywhere near as enthusiastic as the reviews it has received, it should have no difficulty at all giving even James Bond a run for the money. Many of the critics focus on the performance of Daniel Day Lewis in the title role. He has a lock on an Oscar nomination, writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. A.O. Scott in the New York Times writes that Day-Lewis eases into a role of epic difficulty as if it were a coat he had been wearing for years. Says Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News: This is no mere Great Man imitation and familiar profile-- this is a portrayal of nuance and depth. Day Lewis, comments Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune, gives a performance both iconic and gloriously human. And writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe: The performance carries the weight of history at the same time it's rooted in the day-to-day exigencies of statesmanship. Day-Lewis lets us see how the war and the presidency have aged Lincoln while teaching him to think for the ages. Plenty of kudos are also bestowed on Spielberg and on screenwriter Tony Kushner. Comments Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times: There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg's direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point. The director delivers selfless, pulled-back satisfactions: he's there in service of the script and the acting, to enhance the spoken word rather than burnish his reputation. Similarly, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal remarks that Spielberg's direction is hugely energetic and almost invisible, a fine combination. Claudia Puig in USA Today praises the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kushner for producing the perfectly calibrated screenplay. However, several critics argue that the movie may be a bit too polished for its own good. Rafer Guzmán concludes in Newsday: Overall, this finely crafted Lincoln offers everything you'd expect. But somehow, that's a little disappointing. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post sums up: Easier to admire than love. Those precise words are also invoked by Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. Among the reviews in the major newspapers, there is only one outright slam, but Rex Reed of the New York Observer may not even have seen it all, as he himself concedes: The movie, he writes, is a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake -- which, like the film itself, didn't always work.



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Tags: Steven Spielberg - James Bond - Bond - Daniel Day Lewis - Roger Ebert - The New York Times - Michael Phillips - Tony Kushner - The Script - Wall Street - Rex Reed


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