Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field in his 31st film. In a film which is up for 12 nominations in the 83rd Oscars this year. This is all very well and good, but, for any film goer who isn’t up to scratch on his American History, this film may prove at little tough to watch.
At a running time of 150 minutes and with a difficult subject matter, Spielberg’s magic somehow hasn’t worked on this film.
Despite an all star cast which include Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones. Despite a budget of $65,000,000. And despite a good soundtrack by John Williams. Something doesn’t quite work, the pacing seems a little off, the storyline feels confused. Spielberg knows what he wants to get across to the audience. but he somehow can’t translate it to his audience.
However, hats off to Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, there is a quiet confidence to his performance. He isn’t a caricature of the now historical figure of Lincoln who passed the 13th Amendment Act which abolished slavery in America. Daniel Day Lewis is simultaneously a father and a leader of America.
Whilst Sally Field is quietly brilliant as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. With a convincing accent, a little weight, and a period dress, Field is transported in to a historical figure. Her rapport with Day Lewis is commendable and their relationship believable.
Perhaps this film is more suited towards an American audience, who have a real sense of history, and an emotional centre. Perhaps a British audience needs to be wise to the remarkable history of this bio-pic.
Naomi Jeffreys, Film Editor