Directed by Steven Spielberg but without the usual heavy-handedness, and based on the book TEAM OF RIVALS: THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, LINCOLN (2012) is an amazing film about the final four months of the iconic president’s life, emphasizing his efforts to both end the Civil War while getting the thirteenth amendment passed in the House of Representatives. With a star-studded cast led by the great Daniel Day-Lewis, who shreds every scene while embodying the wit, strength, and humanity of Lincoln, this is an amazing film that treats its audience as intelligent adults and presents an insider look at how the institution of slavery legally ended in America for all time.
As I grow older, I find myself fascinated by sociological storytelling, in which a system is the main character, around which we have an ensemble cast of people acting within that system. THE BIG SHORT, GAME OF THRONES, the FOUNDATION series, and THE WIRE are all great examples. These stories don’t have villains so much as different individuals who find themselves in conflict with each other within a particular system. LINCOLN is one such story, as much about a major historical event than Lincoln himself, however instrumental he was in that event. They say lawmaking is similar to sausage making in that you really don’t want to know what goes into the sausage, but in this case, the sausage making makes for tense, fascinating storytelling–and provides a real appreciation for the tightrope Lincoln had to walk between the different factions: Democrats and right-wing, moderate, and left-wing Republicans.
Overall, I highly recommend LINCOLN if you like history, incredible acting and world building, and sociological storytelling.