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Wigge Reviews: ‘Lincoln’

Community Columnist

It should be no surprise to most people that “Lincoln” is an extraordinary film, with superb script and direction and an uncanny portrayal by Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln.

It is amazing to watch this Irish actor simply and totally capture this great American’s persona.

Mr. Lincoln is characterized differently by different historians. This Lincoln is a politically correct and savvy man defined by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, as opposed to the strong, roughhewn man interpreted by others.

No matter.

At the core of Lincoln’s pragmatic spirit is evidenced a deep strain of empathy and compassion.

“Lincoln” is a snapshot in time of one of America’s crucial moments, where social advancements overlay the terrible throes of military struggles. How Lincoln handles these nearly conflicting events over the course of one critical month in 1865 is the essence of the story. And how Day-Lewis so amazingly captures the conflict and courage within Lincoln during this period is the real glory of the movie.

At stake in January 1865 is the elimination of slavery with passage in the House of Representatives of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The president has issued the Emancipation Proclamation; the Senate has voted its approval, now a two-thirds vote is required in the House.

Day-Lewis’ Lincoln eloquently expresses his views with his cabinet in fascinating Socratic dialogues.

He hates slavery, but views its elimination as a legal, not a social, issue. Plus, he points out that freeing the slaves, illegally regarded as property, will expedite the end of the war.

The movie’s conflict, then, is the violent resistance he receives from Copperhead Democrats in the House.

It is a sweeping historical and political story which uses one critical event to portray the nature of this remarkable man and the times in which he lived.

By all means, see this movie.

Jim Wigge is a retired engineer, Cazenovia resident and film-aficionado. He can be reached through the editor, at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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