Saturday, March 30, 2013
Superb is too mild a word for Daniel Day-Lewis as LINCOLN
Just a short note today to remind you movie mavens that if you haven't seen this remarkable film yet, you need to reserve a copy asap. I must say I wasn't sure what to expect but if this is not the most beautifully crafted movie performance I've ever seen in my life, then I don't know what great acting is.
Daniel Day-Lewis manages an amazingly convincing (and rather awe-inspiring) combination of craft, talent and natural ease of movement and expression to bring Abraham Lincoln to vivid life. This is Lincoln as he must have been. There is NOTHING remotely false about Day-Lewis's performance - no tricks, no gimmicks - it all springs from the creative genius of this most gifted of actors.
Lincoln is shown not as the God some would make of him, but as an approachable human being with flaws which were overridden by his own canny (political and otherwise) genius and basic goodness of character.
I always wonder how actors who are so deep into a role are able to shake free when filming ends. But I am aware that most are able to do this in ways that remain a mystery to me. Obviously, they must.
Note: Sally Fields is remarkable as Mary Lincoln, a woman driven to the brink of sanity by demons within and without. I don't understand why Fields draws a smirk from so many, she is one of our best actors and thank goodness that Stephen Spielberg realizes it. She more than keeps up with Day-Lewis in their scenes together. In a part that might have easily slipped into caricature, she seethes with an inchoate discontent yet manages, still, to win my sympathy. (The poor woman did have a lot to put up with.)
The rest of this very well cast movie is excellent, especially Tommy Lee Jones (despite an ungainly wig) as Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania one of the most influential and most rabid anti-slavery members of congress. Lee Pace is also a stand-out as a pro-slavery congressman with a sharp gift for words.