November 26, 2012

Good Mon. Dark here and -4.53327 degrees F approximately.

Yokelly we went to see Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” at the local sinaplex and easily got tickets while others were standing in line for slasher movies and such. Three of the previews of films coming to Fairbanks at Christmas featured extensive shooting and blowing up of people, not to mention some psychotic driving. Anyway, “Lincoln” was absorbing. Daniel Day Lewis portrays a believable Lincoln, with Sally Field (!) as Mary Todd Lincoln doing a good job also. The scenes are mostly interiors, so this isn’t Gettysburg again. Lincoln was famously folksy, with a fund of stories and jokes that masked his intelligence, his ambition, and his shrewd judgment of character.

Lincoln’s speaking voice was described by contemporaries as high and reedy, but mesmerizing once he got going. Without him it is likely the US would have broken apart. It could still do so. We are relatively young as a nation by historical standards. Lincoln was convinced that slavery was wrong, un-Christian, and contrary to the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence, but he also was convinced that he had to free the slaves to win the war and save the union. The nation was just 87 years old when Lincoln delivered his short, memorable speech at Gettysburg on Thursday, November 9, 1863.

The film takes place January through April 1865 as Lincoln and his staff worked to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. Well worth watching. The film says it is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” which is an excellent read and should be required reading for all high school seniors.

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