Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has certainly attracted the sort of attention that usually precedes pretty successful awards seasons. Gladiator, The Kings Speech, The Departed; just a couple of the big budget, big name movies to sweep the Oscars having courted high praise from critics towards the end of the year.
Lincoln – a biopic of America’s 16th President played with aplomb by Daniel Day Lewis – appears to be Spielberg’s finest film in years, but is that good? In a blog on The Huffington Post, David Edmund Moody pulled out the M-word. Yep, the M-word. Calling Lincoln a “modern masterpiece,” though somewhat patronisingly warning, “…this film is not for the masses. It is too rich and complex, the pace too leisurely, the dialogue too intricate and subtle, to reach the audience it deserves. Time will tell whether it deserves a place next to City Lights and Citizen Kane.” Still, it’s good to known that Spielberg is coming up with something packing a little more substance than say Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or even the tame War Horse. A.O Scott of the New York Times heaped praise on the movie and Spielberg’s direction, writing, “To say that this is among the finest films ever made about American politics may be to congratulate it for clearing a fairly low bar,” while Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “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.” Much of the praise is firmly directed in Day-Lewis’ direction – a superb actor known for choosing his roles wisely. Reports suggest he was reluctant to sign on to the epic tale, though his performance has left bookmakers all but paying out on him landing the Oscar for Best Actor in February 2012. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, “The phenomenal Daniel Day-Lewis plays Lincoln with immersive, indelible power in Spielberg's brilliant, brawling epic.”
Brothers in Arms: Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg at the Lincoln Premiere
Sally Field is second favorite behind Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, while the movie itself prowls at around 4/1 to win Best Picture. Ben Affleck’s Argo may well be the market leader, though the aging Academy probably won’t be able to resist a combination of Lincoln, Spielberg and Day Lewis.
Spielberg received a standing ovation at the movie’s premiere last week, later telling The Hollywood Reporter, “What we wanted to do with our film, more than anything else, we wanted to try and see Lincoln…We wanted to try and invite him down from his marble pedestal to see past his many after lives and not to worship him but to understand him close up, as much as possible - to meet him as the person and politician he actually was.” After a limited opening last week, the movie will be in theaters everywhere from Friday (November 16, 2012).