Lincoln: The Movie

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Go see it. Now.

I will admit to being skeptical about this movie. After all, the filming disrupted city life in Richmond for quite some time. And since I work near Capitol Square, I saw a good bit of it.

But even more than that, I am always skeptical about historical movies. I’m really more skeptical about historical revisionist movies.

As a southerner, I grow weary of stories that portray everyone in the Confederacy as ignorant slave-owning racists. Don’t get me wrong, a large majority of southerners were just that.

What bothers me is those from the north who try to claim moral superiority in that “the north didn’t own slaves, so the northerners weren’t racists.”

To quote our Vice President, that’s a “bunch of stuff.”

In the battle for the 13th Amendment, the film did a great job of showing that the northern Democrats opposed the abolition of slavery not because they believed in slavery, but because they didn’t believe in human equality.

That has always been my contention as a southerner.

It was an ugly and ignorant time. People did ugly and ignorant things.

Lincoln shows a man who struggled with how to save a nation, and who struggled with what had to be done to save that nation he loved.

The portrayal of Lincoln by Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as the portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln by Sally Field are Academy Award nomination material. This may have been Sally Field’s greatest work.

Not to be excluded are the always magnificent Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln.

The cinematography is beautiful. And for a Richmonder familiar with the Capitol and well as the Executive Mansion, it was fun to recognize the filming locations.

Perhaps not everything in the film is historically accurate. But this film is a character study of one of our most fascinating and perhaps most significant Presidents.

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