Jan. 7, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

New Year’s Day, I finally saw the movie “Lincoln” with two of my children – my junior high daughter and my high school son.

I sat between the two with warnings of, “Mom, just please keep your verbal disbeliefs and tears down a bit.”

I do have a tendency to be drawn in emotionally. This movie was no exception. Abraham Lincoln is a political figure I have admired and respected since I was young.

I was totally enthralled and entranced by the characters. Daniel Day Lewis played Lincoln, and he played him superbly. I was so drawn into his character. This is probably why I was in no way, shape, or form disappointed with the portrayal of Lincoln.

Lincoln’s wife, Mary, was played by Sally Fields. I have always respected her acting ability. I have not studied Lincoln’s wife as much, so my expectations were minimal. Mary dealt with some mental health issues – what mother wouldn’t who lost a son. Mrs. Lincoln is a strong woman with strong values and opinions, and that was certainly conveyed through Field’s portrayal of Mrs. Lincoln.

Tommy Lee Jones played a congressman (I don’t remember the congressman’s name), who played a major role in the passage of the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery. In fact, in the movie, after the vote which approved the amendment, Jones, who had the signed amendment in his hand, returned to his home to his partner, an African-American woman. He asked her to read the amendment to him, almost in disbelief that it really did pass. He was overjoyed. He had spent most of his political career with the true belief that all people are created equal.

“Lincoln” is an American historical drama directed and produced by Stephen Spielberg. It has been in the making for 10 years. Spielberg has always had great respect for Lincoln and for a long time had wanted to do a movie on him. Spielberg wanted to get Lincoln’s character right, and I believe he did (for what my belief is worth). The 10 years in the making has been due to research on Lincoln.

The movie is a tad over two-and-one-half hours. It is a lengthy movie, and one that you have to stay focused on. Much of the movie focuses on congressmen in debate and lots of dialogue – Lincoln in dialogue with his cabinet, his wife, his sons (Lincoln and his wife had three sons – one died in combat), his house staff, and his opponents.

I appreciated it, and the words and dialogue chosen were thought out. I listened intently, and really was moved by the words and actions of Lincoln, Mary, their house servants – who were mainly African-American – and so many of the characters, including Tommy Lee Jones’ character.

However, my children’s attention was not as focused as mine. It was a bit long for them.

My daughter had already seen the movie with a friend, and came along again. She said this time she would focus more. She did, and she said she was glad she did and enjoyed it much more the second time around.

I believe every junior high and senior high student should see the movie, whether in the theater or by rental when it is released.

It is a dramatic retelling of very pivotal moments in our nation’s history – the ending of the Civil War, the passage of the 13th Amendment, and the debate that ensued between congressmen – Republicans and Democrats.

I have always had such great respect for Abraham Lincoln, and what he stood for and believed in. He did not waiver from it, even in great odds.

This movie only solidified my feelings of respect. I will rent this movie. No, I will buy it, so I can own it, and I will watch it many times. I will have my children watch it again, for it shows an intimate side of one of our greatest leaders.

P.S. I bought Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s book, “Killing Lincoln – The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever,” for my husband and son for Christmas. I plan to read this next – after they read it, of course.

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