Often I find Steven Spielberg’s films too manipulative, melodramatic, and sentimental. Not so with Lincoln.
Maybe it’s the tempering effect of facts suggested by the source material (Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book), or the screenplay by Tony Kushner, or the understated performance by Daniel Day-Lewis (who really does evoke Lincoln and yes, I did say Day-Lewis is understated, not a typo).
I don’t know what factors brought the magic that doesn’t seem forced, but I’m glad for them. The lighting and composition are lovely. The production design strikes the right note. The supporting cast is more than fine.
The result is a film that deals with important issues in a serious, respectful way that elicits admiration if not passion. And, if the price for passion is manipulation, melodrama, and an excess of sentiment, I’m glad to forego it.
Lincoln is a useful film that feels topical because of its attention to political process and how much of that we continue to scrutinize (well, at least those of us who are news and politics junkies). I like it and recommend it.