‘Lincoln’ falls behind ‘The Ten Commandments,’ ‘Argo’

While everyone else last night was watching “The Ten Commandments” with Carleton Heston and Yul Brynner (a show with everything and Yul Brynner, which just makes me start humming “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head), I was watching “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis.

I was surprised to find I didn’t like it. I, the political science major who spends her free time reading biographies of people like Ben Franklin and, yes, Abraham Lincoln, didn’t like Steven Speilberg’s alleged masterpiece.

Well, it didn’t have Yul Brynner (thanks Murray Head). It did have Daniel Day-Lewis, who truly inhabits any character he plays. He was amazing. But the rest of the movie? Meh.

“Lincoln” was dark (literally — I mean, I know Lincoln worked by candlelight, but Spielberg’s cinematographer had to, too?) and extremely hard to follow. I felt like I should have reviewed a synopsis beforehand to remind me which states were in and out of the Union, how many representatives the United States had at the time, how many sons Lincoln had and who the heck Thaddeus Stevens was. I’m also wondering how today’s Republicans were once that Grand Old Party.

Am I making this movie sound like a substitute history teacher’s syllabus?

Yeah.

Make no mistake, I appreciate art that make me think a little more than “Jackass: The Movie” but the level of knowledge required to understand “Lincoln” was beyond me. I doubt the average American understands the nuances of 19th century amendment ratification.

And what about Mary Lincoln? Poor Sally Field. She had to play a most unlikable character since, well, Yul Brynner. If that’s how self-involved Lincoln’s wife was, the president’s death may not have been as untimely as I had been led to believe. She was hard to watch and wholly unpitiable.

Perhaps Ben Affleck’s “Argo” was too accessible, its villains too cartoonish and its story a little too slick, but I enjoyed it a great deal more than “Lincoln.” I’m glad the Academy did, too.

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5 responses to “‘Lincoln’ falls behind ‘The Ten Commandments,’ ‘Argo’

  1. I have yet to see Lincoln, but I thoroughly enjoyed Argo. I typically don’t see many movies, and usually not until they are out on DVD. Which is how I came to see Argo a few weeks ago.

    • I agree! I’ve been watching all my movies by video lately, including “Argo” and “Lincoln.” Have you seen “The Sessions”? Great (don’t watch it with the kids though!).

  2. I’m about the only person I know who thinks Spielberg is a hack. Everyone seems to revere his work, but I find most of it unlikeable. To my eye he trades narrative consistency for any chance to tug the heart strings.

    I’ve disliked him ever since Dreyfuss and the mashed potatoes in Close Encounters.

  3. isiscambassassassassian

    Lincoln was a “gimme gimme an Oscar picture”. Personally, I think the Oscars overate actors who merely impersonate someone far too much. Oh and the Republican Party was that Grand Old Party, right up to the moment Ronald Regan made a deal with the devils to get himself elected. And that was basically the same deal Jesse Jackson made in the 80’s for the Demi-crats 🙂

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