Election Day is over, but the political season is not — at least not where the movies are concerned.
Director Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” hits theaters today (November 9), delivering a detailed look at the 16th President of the United States’ political struggles on the road to abolition at the end of the Civil War. Bringing Honest Abe to frighteningly real life is Daniel Day-Lewis, the “There Will Be Blood” Oscar winner who, by all accounts, might be on the cusp of receiving yet another golden statuette. But even if Day-Lewis’ performance is at the heart of the praise surrounding “Lincoln,” he’s not the only actor receiving raves.
Read on for our round-up of “Lincoln” reviews.
What You Already Expected
“Dark, stately, noble-minded and slightly creaky in the joints — that’s the Abraham Lincoln most Americans know, and it also describes ’Lincoln,’ Steven Spielberg’s cinematic portrait of the man. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, ’Lincoln’ is wrapped in the heavy cloak of the traditional biopic, with all the top-shelf acting, period detail and important speeches the genre requires.” — Rafer Guzmán, Newsday
The Master At Work
“As the title character of Steven Spielberg’s solemnly transfixing ’Lincoln,’ Daniel Day-Lewis is tall and elegantly stooped, with thatchy gray-black hair, sunken cheeks, and a grin that tugs at the corners of his mouth whenever he tries to win someone over by telling them a good story (which is often). Day-Lewis looks so much like the photographs of Abraham Lincoln that you don’t have to squint, even a bit, to buy that it’s him. He nails Lincoln’s thousand-yard stare — a gaze directed at once inward (at the whir of his own mental machinery) and outward (at the cosmic hum of history). Day-Lewis’ performance has a beautiful gravitas, yet there’s nothing too severe about it.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
The Secret Breakout Star
“You can only marvel watching Tommy Lee Jones take the floor as Republican Thaddeus Stevens, a bewigged, fire-breathing abolitionist whose sharp tongue spares no hypocrite. Check out his showstopping takedown of pro-slavery Democrat Fernando Wood (Lee Pace). In an Oscar- caliber performance, Jones is simply sensational, bitingly funny and fearlessly blunt.” — Peter Travers, RollingStone.com
The Rest of the Family
“The moments with Lincoln and his family are underdeveloped. Day-Lewis’ time with McGrath is unfailingly touching — particularly to those who know the child’s fate — but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s scenes as Robert Todd Lincoln end up going nowhere, and the script gives Mary Todd a speech about how she fears she’ll be remembered only for her instability, but barely gives her moments that aren’t defined by her instability.” — Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club
The Final Word
“’Lincoln’ is an epic achievement. Smart, inspiring and bold, the film shows a vision for what government can be and what it can do. It presents a road map for sensible political compromise in the pursuit of historic and important goals. And it paints a compelling portrait of Abraham Lincoln as a flawed, imperfect man who was nonetheless a genius and a once-in-a-generation visionary.” — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest
Check out everything we’ve got on “Lincoln.”