Lincoln brings to life our sixteenth president with an uncanny naturalism that is almost disconcerting. There’s no pedestal here. Abe Lincoln isn’t presented as saintly. He’s portrayed as a savvy politician and competent leader who recognized when the time was right for the passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. Lincoln is rated Rated PG-13 for “an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language.” But more to the point, this film is more about persuasion and politics in all its stubbornness, intractability, and compromise than it is about action. This is a grown-up film, perfect for parents and your over-thirteens to enjoy and discuss.
|Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln|
|Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens|
Another President, Woodrow Wilson famously called the film The Birth of a Nation “like writing history with lightening.” There isn’t lightening here; just blood and guts. It’s very human and approachable. Lincoln has a sense of naturalness and realness that invites viewers to step into the frame, to shake hands with Lincoln himself. He’s the smartest man in the room with a limitless ability to carry the burdens of many without taking his eye off vital issues of the day.
I was left wanting more of Day-Lewis and Lincoln. So why stop with this film? The great thing about Lincoln is that it can open up a lively discussion with your kids about similarities to the present day's political victories, defeats, and deadlocks. To begin with, you and your family can take a deeper look into the production of the film with a free, interactive iPad book, Lincoln: A Steven Spielberg Film - Discover the Story. Then peruse these essential resources on the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln:
- Lincoln Teacher’s Guide at the National Constitution Center
- The Official Website of the White House – Chapter on Abraham Lincoln
- The Biography Channel’s Portrait of Lincoln
- The Official Website of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum
- The Miller Center at the University of Virginia
- The History Channel’s Portrait of Lincoln
- The Lincoln Institute
- The History Place – Timeline on the Life of Lincoln
- The National Parks Service Official Website – The Lincoln Memorial
- The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project – Historic Documents Online
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