Film Review by Jenny Munro Hunt | 18 Jan 2013
Film title: Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook
Release date: 25 Jan
Certificate: 12A

Much has been made in the US press of Daniel Day-Lewis’s decision to adopt a high, reedy voice (instead of a stentorian baritone) to portray sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln, but for the non-American viewer, not schooled in Lincoln lore from an early age, this doesn’t prove distracting, despite the occasional hint of Grampa (Abraham) Simpson. 

Spielberg’s Lincoln is resolutely not a biopic, rather a vignette of the events leading to the pivotal moment in American history when slavery was finally abolished. We learn little about Lincoln’s journey to the White House; we don’t hear his famous Gettysburg address (except through the mouths of a few soldiers); at times, the intricacies of passing amendments in congress can be a little mystifying. But this is a warm, celebratory film, handsomely shot, with a subtle, sympathetic central performance from Day-Lewis, and tremendous support from Tommy Lee Jones, more craggy and engaging with every role, as sarcastic, flamboyant abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.