New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has joined critics of the screenplay of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which depicts two Connecticut congressmen voting against the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. In reality they both staunchly supported the measure. Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney had touched off the backlash earlier this month when he demanded that the film be revised when it is released on home video. In reply, writer Tony Kushner acknowledged that he took liberties with the facts for dramatic effect and that the film was not intended to serve as a documentary. He also told Dowd that in developing a screenplay, a writer sometimes must manipulate a small detail in the service of a greater historical truth. History doesn't always organize itself according to the rules of drama. However, in her column, which appeared on Sunday, Dowd wrote, It makes viewers think that realism is just another style in art, so that no movie, no matter how realistic it looks, is believable. Then, in an apparent reference to the controversial torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty and challenges about the authenticity of the events depicted in Argo, she added, This Oscar season is rife with contenders who bank on the authenticity of their films until it's challenged, and then fall back on the 'Hey, it's just a movie' defense.
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