Director: Steven Spielberg
Year Released: 2012
Austere - although heavy-handed and preachy - depiction of the struggles President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) must endure while trying to get Congress to pass the Thirteen Amendment to the Constitution, which would outlaw slavery. For all of Day-Lewis' admirable method acting and slouching - he really does look like he has the weight of a country on his shoulders - and a powerful supporting cast (which includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his ready-to-fight oldest son, Sally Field as his cracked but loyal wife and Tommy Lee Jones as a defender of the rights of all people regardless of race), this can't help but come across as a one-note diatribe (or, rather, a series of speeches that all amount to the same thing) about freedom, equality and that jazz: it's Spielberg trying to out-do Frank Capra, right down to the 'dramatic' final vote in Congress. In other words, it's a gigantic glob of fierce patriotism and it's being shoved right down your throat. The final scene of Lincoln shot dead followed by a flashback to him reciting his Second Inaugural Address feels tacked on; surely Spielberg (and screenwriter Tony Kushner) could have found a more suitably poetic conclusion...?