December 24th, 2012, by Rob


Lincoln

Lincoln is a 2012 American historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The film is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of Lincoln’s life, focusing on Lincoln’s efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.

Filming began October 17, 2011, and ended on December 19, 2011. Lincoln premiered on October 8, 2012, at the New York Film Festival. The film was released on November 9, 2012, in select cities and widely released on November 16, 2012, in the United States by DreamWorks through Disney’s Touchstone distribution label in the U.S. The film is scheduled for release on January 25, 2013 in the United Kingdom, with distribution in international territories, including the U.K., by 20th Century Fox.

Lincoln received widespread critical acclaim, with major praise directed to Day-Lewis’ performance. In December 2012, the film was nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, and Best Actor (Drama) for Day-Lewis.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – Lincoln – Plot

Lincoln recounts President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts, during January 1865, to pass in the United States House of Representatives the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that would formally abolish slavery in the country. Expecting the Civil War to end within a month but concerned that his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation may be discarded by the courts once the war has concluded and the 13th Amendment defeated by the returning slave states, Lincoln feels it is imperative to pass the amendment by the end of January, thus removing any possibility that slaves who have already been freed may be re-enslaved. The Radical Republicans fear the amendment will merely be defeated and some wished to delay; the support of the amendment by Republicans in the border states is not yet assured either, since they prioritize the issue of ending the war. Even if all of them are ultimately brought on board, the amendment will still require the support of several Democratic congressmen if it is to pass. With dozens of Democrats having just become lame ducks after losing their re-election campaigns in the fall of 1864, some of Lincoln’s advisers believe that he should wait until the new Republican-heavy Congress is seated, presumably giving the amendment an easier road to passage. Lincoln, however, remains adamant about having the amendment in place and the issue of slavery settled before the war is concluded and the southern States reintegrated into the Union.

Lincoln’s hopes for passage of the amendment rely upon the support of the Republican Party founder Francis Preston Blair, the only one whose influence can ensure that all members of the western and border state conservative Republican faction will back the amendment. With Union victory in the Civil War seeming highly likely and greatly anticipated, but not yet a fully accomplished fact, Blair is keen to end the hostilities as soon as possible. Therefore, in return for his support, Blair insists that Lincoln allow him to immediately engage the Confederate government in peace negotiations. This is a complication to Lincoln’s amendment efforts since he knows that a significant portion of the support he has garnered for the amendment is from the Radical Republican faction for which a negotiated peace that leaves slavery intact is anathema. If there seems to be a realistic possibility of ending the war even without guaranteeing the end of slavery, needed support for the amendment from the more conservative wing which does not favor abolition will certainly fall away. Unable to proceed without Blair’s support, however, Lincoln reluctantly authorizes Blair’s mission.

In the meantime, Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward work on the issue of securing the necessary Democratic votes for the amendment. Lincoln suggests that they concentrate on the lame duck Democrats, as they have already lost re-election and thus will feel free to vote as they please, rather than having to worry about how their vote will affect a future re-election campaign. Since those members also will soon be in need of employment and Lincoln will have many federal jobs to fill as he begins his second term, he sees this as a tool he can use to his advantage. Though Lincoln and Seward are unwilling to offer direct monetary bribes to the Democrats, they authorize agents to quietly go about contacting Democratic congressmen with offers of federal jobs in exchange for their voting in favor of the amendment.

The amendment is brought to the floor of the House of Representatives and through the month of January, there is contentious debate, particularly between Radical Republican stalwart Thaddeus Stevens and Copperhead Democrats, such as George Pendleton and Fernando Wood. Stevens’ staunch support for complete racial equality provides another complication with regard to Lincoln’s efforts to pass the amendment. Lincoln is aware that tolerance for the idea of abolishing slavery far exceeds support for the idea of complete racial equality. If the amendment comes to be seen as the first step in an attempt to bring about complete equality of the black and white races, there is no chance it will pass. Pendleton and Wood have made the same calculation and hope to defeat the amendment by getting Stevens to declare during the debate his intention to promote just such racial equality. As the month proceeds, Lincoln must simultaneously oversee the efforts to secure the Democratic votes, monitor Blair’s peace efforts, including attempting to delay the presentation to him of any formal peace offer from the Confederacy, and try to convince Stevens to temper his statements advocating racial equality during the debate. During this same time, Lincoln must deal with family strife, torn between his son Robert’s determination to enlist in the army and his wife’s highly emotional objections to such plans.

With Confederate envoys ready to meet with Lincoln, he instructs them to be kept out of Washington, as the amendment approaches a vote on the House floor. At the moment of truth, Stevens decides to moderate his statements about racial equality to help the amendment’s chances of passage. A rumor circulates that there are Confederate representatives in Washington ready to discuss peace, prompting both Democrats and conservative Republicans to advocate postponing the vote on the amendment. Lincoln explicitly denies that such envoys are in or will be in the city — technically a truthful statement, since he had ordered them to be kept away — and the vote proceeds, narrowly passing by a margin of two votes. When Lincoln subsequently meets with the Confederates, he quashes the idea of their being able to rejoin the Union in time to prevent the amendment from going into effect.

After the amendment’s passage, the film’s narrative shifts forward two months, portraying Lincoln’s visit to the battlefield at Petersburg, Virginia, where he exchanges a few words with General Grant. Shortly thereafter, Grant receives General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln is in a late-night meeting with his cabinet, discussing possible future measures to enfranchise blacks, when he is reminded that Mrs. Lincoln is waiting to take them to their evening at Ford’s Theater.

The next morning, after Lincoln is shot, his physician pronounces him dead. The film concludes with a flashback to Lincoln delivering his Second Inaugural Address.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – Lincoln – Cast

Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln

Liam Neeson was originally cast as Lincoln in January 2005, having previously worked with Spielberg in Schindler’s List. In preparation for the role, Neeson studied Lincoln extensively. However, in July 2010, Neeson left the project, saying that he had grown too old for the part. Neeson was 58 at the time, and Lincoln, during the time period depicted, was 55 and 56. In November 2010, it was announced that Day-Lewis would replace Neeson in the role. Doris Kearns Goodwin described Lincoln in his final months as a leader with “the rare wisdom of a temperament that consistently displayed an uncommon magnanimity to those who opposed him”. Producer Kathleen Kennedy described Day-Lewis’s performance as “remarkable” after 75% of the filming had been completed, and said, “Every day you get the chills thinking that Lincoln is sitting there right in front of you.” Kennedy described Day-Lewis’s method acting immersion into the role: “He is very much deeply invested and immersed throughout the day when he’s in character, but he’s very accessible at the end of the day, once he can step outside of it and not feel that – I mean, he’s given huge scenes with massive amounts of dialogue and he needs to stay in character, it’s a very, very performance-driven movie.”

Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln

Field was first announced to join the cast as early as September 2007, but officially joined the cast in April 2011.[18] Field said, “To have the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis and to play one of the most complicated and colorful women in American history is simply as good as it gets.”[19] Spielberg said, “she has always been my first choice to portray all the fragility and complexity that was Mary Todd Lincoln”.

David Strathairn as Secretary of State William H. Seward

According to John Hay, “The history of governments affords few instances of an official connection hallowed by a friendship so absolute and sincere as that which existed between these two magnanimous spirits”, namely Seward and Lincoln.

Tommy Lee Jones as Radical Republican Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens

A fervent abolitionist, Stevens feared that Lincoln would “turn his back on emancipation.” Stevens “excoriated him on the floor of the House” for meeting with a Confederate peace delegation.

Hal Holbrook (who won an Emmy portraying Lincoln in a 1976 mini-series) as Francis Preston Blair

Blair was an influential Republican politician who tried to arrange a peace agreement between the Union and the Confederacy

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Lincoln had recently left his studies at Harvard Law School and was newly named a Union Army captain and personal attendant to General Grant. He returned to the White House on April 14, 1865 to visit his family. His father was assassinated that night.

James Spader as Republican Party operative William N. Bilbo

Bilbo had been imprisoned but was freed by Lincoln, and then lobbied for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.

John Hawkes as Colonel Robert Latham

Latham founded Lincoln College in 1865

Jackie Earle Haley as Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens

Stephens had served with Lincoln in Congress from 1847 to 1849. He met with Abraham Lincoln on the steamboat River Queen at the unsuccessful Hampton Roads Conference on February 3, 1865

Lee Pace as Democratic Congressman Fernando Wood: A former Mayor of New York City, Wood became a Copperhead Democratic Congressman sympathetic to the Confederacy
Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley

Keckley was a former slave who was dressmaker and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln

Bill Raymond as Schuyler Colfax: Colfax served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869. He was later (1869-1873) Vice President of the United States.
David Costabile[24] as James Ashley
Julie White as Elizabeth Blair Lee: Lee was the daughter of Francis Preston Blair, and wrote hundreds of letters documenting events during the Civil War
S. Epatha Merkerson as Lydia Smith: Smith was Thaddeus Stevens’s biracial housekeeper. Stevens was a bachelor and Smith lived with him for many years.
Elizabeth Marvel as Ms. Jolly
Stephen Henderson as William Slade
Adam Driver as Samuel Beckwith
Lukas Haas as First White Soldier
Dane DeHaan as Second White Soldier
Colman Domingo as Private Harold Green
Michael Stuhlbarg as George Yeaman
Stephen Spinella as Asa Vintner Litton
Bruce McGill as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton
Stanton took charge of the investigation of the assassination plot

Tim Blake Nelson as Richard Schell

Schell was a politician who later represented New York in the United States House of Representatives.

Joseph Cross as John Hay

Hay was assistant and secretary to Abraham Lincoln, and later Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Jared Harris as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant

Commanded the Union Army from March 1864 and directed the strategy that led to Union Victory.

Peter McRobbie as Ohio Democrat, U.S. Representative George H. Pendleton
Gulliver McGrath as Tad Lincoln

Tad was 12 years old, and toured Richmond, Virginia, with his father.

Jeremy Strong as John George Nicolay

Nicolay was secretary to Abraham Lincoln

Boris McGiver as Alexander Coffroth
Walton Goggins as Democratic Congressman Wells A. Hutchins

Hutchins was one of only 16 Democrats who broke with his party to cast decisive votes in favor of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery

David Warshofsky[24] as William Hutton
David Oyelowo as Ira Clark[31]
Byron Jennings[24] as Montgomery Blair
Blair was the son of Francis Preston Blair, was the former Postmaster-General, and was a political opponent of the Radical Republicans

Richard Topol as James Speed

Speed was United States Attorney General and brother of Joshua Speed, Lincoln’s oldest personal friend

Dakin Matthews as John Palmer Usher

Usher was the Secretary of the Interior in Lincoln’s cabinet

Wayne Duvall as Radical Republican Senator Benjamin “Bluff Ben” Wade
Gregory Itzin as John Archibald Campbell

Campbell was a former Supreme Court Justice who had resigned at the start of war and then served as Assistant Secretary of War in the Confederate government. He was also a member of the Confederate delegation that met with Lincoln at the Hampton Roads Conference

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – Lincoln – Production

While consulting on a Steven Spielberg project in 1999, Goodwin told Spielberg she was planning to write Team of Rivals, and Spielberg immediately told her he wanted the film rights. DreamWorks finalized the deal in 2001, and by the end of the year, John Logan signed on to write the script. His draft focused on Lincoln’s friendship with Frederick Douglass. Playwright Paul Webb was hired to rewrite and filming was set to begin in January 2006, but Spielberg delayed it out of dissatisfaction with the script. Neeson said Webb’s draft covered the entirety of Lincoln’s term as President.

Tony Kushner replaced Webb. Kushner considered Lincoln “the greatest democratic leader in the world” and found the writing assignment daunting because “I have no idea [what made him great]; I don’t understand what he did anymore than I understand how William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet or Mozart wrote Così fan tutte.” He delivered his first draft late and felt the enormous amount written about Lincoln did not help either. Kushner said Lincoln’s abolitionist ideals made him appealing to a Jewish writer, and although he felt Lincoln was Christian, he noted the president rarely quoted the New Testament and that his “thinking and his ethical deliberation seem very talmudic”. By late 2008, Kushner joked he was on his “967,000th book about Abraham Lincoln”. Kushner’s initial 500-page draft focused on four months in the life of Lincoln, and by February 2009 he had rewritten it to focus on two months in Lincoln’s life when he was preoccupied with adopting the Thirteenth Amendment.

While promoting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in May 2008, Spielberg announced his intention to start filming in early 2009, for release in November, ten months after the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. In January 2009, Taunton and Dighton, Massachusetts were being scouted as potential locations. Spielberg arranged a $50 million budget for the film, to please Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey, who had previously delayed the project over concerns it was too similar to Spielberg’s commercially unsuccessful Amistad (1997). Spielberg had wanted Touchstone Pictures–which agreed to distribute all his films from 2010–to distribute the film, but he was unable to afford paying off Paramount, which DreamWorks had developed the film with.

Filming took place in Petersburg, Virginia. According to location manager Colleen Gibbons, “one thing that attracted the filmmakers to the city was the 180-degree vista of historic structures” which is “very rare”. Lincoln toured Petersburg on April 3, 1865, the day after it fell to the Union Army. Scenes have also been filmed in Fredericksburg, Virginia and at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, which served as the Capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln visited the building on April 4, 1865, after Richmond fell to the Union Army.

On September 4, 2012, DreamWorks and Google Play announced on the film’s Facebook page that they would release the trailer for the film during a Google+ hangout with Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on September 13, 2012 at 7pm EDT/4pm PDT. Then, on September 10, 2012, a teaser for the trailer was released.

Movie2k Watch Movies – Lincoln – Music

The soundtrack to Lincoln was released on November 6, 2012 in the United States and was recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

All music is composed by John Williams.
No. Title Length
1. “The People’s House” 3:43
2. “The Purpose of the Amendment” 3:07
3. “Getting Out the Vote” 2:49
4. “The American Process” 3:57
5. “The Blue and Grey” 3:00
6. “With Malice Toward None” 1:51
7. “Call to Muster and Battle Cry of Freedom” 2:17
8. “The Southern Delegation and the Dream” 4:43
9. “Father and Son” 1:42
10. “The Race to the House” 2:42
11. “Equality Under the Law” 3:12
12. “Freedom’s Call” 6:08
13. “Elegy” 2:35
14. “Remembering Willie” 1:51
15. “Appomattox, April 9, 1865” 2:38
16. “The Peterson House and Finale” 11:00
17. “With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo)” 1:31
Total length:
58:46

Movie2k Watch Movies – Lincoln – Reception

Lincoln – Box office

As of December 23, 2012, the film has made $116,781,000 domestically from 2,293 theaters, well exceeding its budget. The film opened limited in 11 theaters with $944,308 and an average of $85,846 per theater. It opened at the #15 rank, becoming the highest opening of a film with such a limited release. The film opened wide in 1,175 theaters with $21,049,406 and an average of $11,859 per theater.

Lincoln – Critical response

Lincoln was reviewed very positively. The film currently holds a 91% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 181 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10, and a 95% approval rating among top critics. The site’s critical consensus is “Daniel Day-Lewis characteristically delivers in this witty, dignified portrait that immerses the audience in its world and entertains even as it informs.” On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 86 (citing “universal acclaim”) based on 41 reviews, making it Spielberg’s best reviewed film on the site since Saving Private Ryan.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 4 out of 4 stars and said, “The hallmark of the man, performed so powerfully by Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, is calm self-confidence, patience and a willingness to play politics in a realistic way.”

It has been praised by Charlie McCollum of the San Jose Mercury News as one “of the finest historical dramas ever committed to film.” Despite mostly positive reviews, Rex Reed of the New York Observer stated, “In all, there’s too much material, too little revelation and almost nothing of Spielberg’s reliable cinematic flair.” However, the reviews have been unanimous in their praise of Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance as Abraham Lincoln. Emanuel Levy of EmanuelLevy.com called it a “spell-binding performance, subtle, multi-shaded, devoid of theatricality or mannerisms.” A. O. Scott from The New York Times stated the movie “is finally a movie about how difficult and costly it has been for the United States to recognize the full and equal humanity of black people” and concluded that the movie was “a rough and noble democratic masterpiece”.

Scott also stated that Lincoln’s concern about his wife’s emotional instability and “the strains of a wartime presidency… produce a portrait that is intimate but also decorous, drawn with extraordinary sensitivity and insight and focused, above all, on Lincoln’s character as a politician. This is, in other words, less a biopic than a political thriller, a civics lesson that is energetically staged and alive with moral energy.”

Academic historians have been more ambivalent in their reaction than movie critics. Eric Foner (Columbia University), a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the period, claims in a letter to the New York Times that the movie “grossly exaggerates” its main points about the choices at stake in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment (November 26, 2012). Kate Masur (Northwestern University) accuses the film of oversimplifying the role of blacks in abolition and dismisses the effort as “an opportunity squandered” in an op-ed for the New York Times (November 12, 2012). Harold Holzer, co-chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and author of more than 40 books, served as a consultant to the film and praises it but also observes that there is “no shortage of small historical bloopers in the movie” in a piece for The Daily Beast (November 22, 2012). Allen Guelzo (Gettysburg College), also writing for The Daily Beast has some plot criticism, but disagrees with Holzer, arguing that, “The pains that have been taken in the name of historical authenticity in this movie are worth hailing just on their own terms” (November 27, 2012). David Stewart, independent historical author, writing for History News Network, describes Spielberg’s work as “reasonably solid history” and tells readers of HNN, “go see it with a clear conscience” (November 20, 2012). Lincoln Biographer Ronald White also admired the film, though he noted a few mistakes and pointed out in an interview with NPR, “Is every word true? No.” (November 23, 2012). Historian Joshua M. Zeitz, writing in The Atlantic, noted some minor mistakes, but concluded “Lincoln is not a perfect film, but it is an important film.”

 

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