One of Spielberg’s best

One of Spielberg’s best
As biopics come, things have always been a bit dicey. A lot depends on the life of the subject, and how far the director goes in terms of artistic liberties to add some drama. But Lincoln, one of the much awaited films partly because it was about America’s greatest icon and partly because one of Hollywood’s greatest directors was making the effort, sort of re-establishes biopic narrative.

Perhaps if Steven Spielberg had attempted to make the life of Lincoln earlier, he might have given into his famous, albeit pompous, touches. That he steps away from his all-sweeping narrative techniques, and approaches the subject with a lot of restrain makes Lincoln not only heartwarming, but also one of Spielberg’s best.

As for Abraham Lincoln, it is not the first time that he graces the silver screen (Hell, there was even one that dared to portray him as a vampire slayer.) But whereas the 1930 biopic, directed by D W Griffith, derived its drama from Lincoln’s early life – more personal than political – Spielberg’s
takes on the undeniably dramatic phase of his life – when he pushed for the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives that abolished slavery in America. Spielberg has simply followed this dramatic curve, ably assisted both by Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays Lincoln to the T and Sally Field, Mary Todd Lincoln. He keeps his narrative taut, and his Lincoln real – he goes through all shades of grey befitting that of a political persona, not afraid to show the world his burning ambition, which obviously propelled him to the top position of the world.

That historians still grumble about the authenticity is another story altogether. But Lincoln stands tall and humane in Spielberg’s version. You could see that he must have been one hell of a character.
Jemima Raman

Jemima Raman

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