I finally saw the movie Lincoln. Its not that I’m not a fan of movies, but its just that I’m a bit slow at seeing the popular flicks. But, Amazon had it there, and so I rented it and enjoyed the watching. My lady and I both enjoyed it. And I found myself enjoying parts of it that aren’t always apparent to those who watch movies. Well, maybe it is apparent. But, I don’t watch so many movies, so I guess my impressions are just unique to me.
Impressions of the Movie
Mr. Daniel Lewis was flat out impressive. I don’t want to give the common platitude that he depicted Lincoln perfectly. I never met the former President. And I’ve read only a few biographies of him. I’ve read the commentary of historians and others during his time in office and even some of the Supreme Court decisions of various laws during that time (I had a great Comm and Media Law class in college). But, that was a really good performance. Really, good.
The rest of the performers were great as well. Though, I wish that some of the character traits of the youngest son were explored more than just the ending cry at the end.
The costume and set design were pretty impressive too. I was a part of a piece of a restoration project that had to do with Ford’s Theatre some time ago. That was a cool project, but not as neat as what was seen with this movie. Colors, moods, and with the exception of a few green screen moments, not bad at all. Gosh, there were a lot of reenactors in that movie.
Impressions of the Time Period
I don’t bring up race often because it just doesn’t make sense. I stand at the front of Lincoln, Dr. King, and many others who have argued those arguments, and fought those fights. My responsibility is to live on their lessons and push forward, not carry that cross and beamoan what forward doesn’t look like because of the scars on that cross.
And that’s the sense that I got in watching Lincoln. You could make the argument that much of the movie was a pull and tug of such a point. Part of the members of the House couldn’t move forward because of being so crucified to their past. This sense in some members that you had to let go not just of the cross of slavery, but this cross that people weren’t equal. Equality as defined by the law – as Tommy Lee Jones’s character finally declares – wow, bold. Arguing for an intrepretation of the law that is not encumbered by the biases of the recent past. You can’t make a step forward in unity without such a change. And that sticks out.
Then there was the often mis-understood mood. That one where the dream of Lincoln standing on a boat that is moving faster towards the shore. Oh, his wife knew it. And you had this sense that Lincoln knew it. But, the impending end of his journey meant that he had to be all that more direct in forgetting anything that would keep him in the water. That meant leaving the sensibility of his family (the way he treated Robert was in part a manner of him preparing himself for his departure). This sense that all men have that while on the road to some great purpose that they also prepare for accepting the ending of the journey. I’ve not had that dream yet. But, I get it. It causes you to make or break it when it comes to getting things done.
My lady and I sat in the midst of an affluent community while eating burgers and listening to some live music for a bit tonight before watching this movie. We perceived that we were definitely being watched. We looked and dressed different. We were a touch louder. We were comfortable in our skin enjoy a liberty that the movie portends wasn’t just fought for, but schemed for, compromised for, cried for… begged for. I don’t think I could watch this movie after that moment and not have some kind of impressions. And at the same time, I’m aware of more than just 4 months of Lincoln’s life.
I know of his changing stance not just on slavery, but the equality of man. I am aware of how his views, his talents, and his family disturbed him. And I know of some of the commentary about the things said about him once he left – how honoring his memory was much more a political stance than a respectful one, especially in the City (DC). And I live in the midst of the travels of that Union army, where many scars still remain and crosses are deliberately swaying the breeze. A memory of a many is enough to keep that going. How its enough to make me ask just one more question…
Given the many similarities between President Lincoln and President Obama (really, very, amazing concidences and such)… I wonder if Mr. Obama not just recognizes the history of the moment, but in light of the weight that his hair now shows, can he leave history to respect him instead of compelling the discussion (as lawyers do)?
It was a good movie. And I’ve got 40-some odd hours to watch it again. Answering the previous question for myself, I just might.