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Abe comes alive again

Spielberg's 'Lincoln' a masterful portrait

The film also looks and sounds terrific, as the dour, gray and haphazard setting of our nation’s capital, circa 1865, reminds us that it wasn’t always glamorous and posh, either at the White House or anywhere else. Credit, too, must go to the incomparable John Williams for a subtle, beautiful score that marvels in its understatement.

So many scenes in Lincoln are so well done, that none really stick out. Pieced together, though, they leave you heartbroken at the end, not just because Lincoln never lived to see the Union brought back together (much less the end of slavery), but because his intelligence, and his capacity to grow as a person and lead through that growth, is still something anyone elected to public office could still find useful.

Far more important than the awards it might earn, Lincoln teaches all of us, as Americans, that our most storied leaders had to do difficult things to bring us to a better place. And that Abraham Lincoln himself was not born great, but that his singular gifts and talents, combined with the course of human events, led him to a greatness that we still celebrate today.

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