'Lincoln' Lives Up to Hyperbole

Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 08:16 PM

By Jon Friedman

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I saw "Lincoln" over the weekend, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I'd be surprised if it failed to capture the Oscar for Best Picture. It's that good.

You can deeply appreciate this thoroughly American story on so many levels: Daniel Day-Lewis (as Lincoln), Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and the other remarkable actors and actresses; the historical importance of the events in this movie; the obvious care that director Steven Spielberg took in telling the tale, with the emphasis on detail and not the typical melodramatic Hollywood flourishes.

lincoln-spielberg.jpg
Actress Tovah Feldshuh and director Steven Spielberg attend a special screening of "Lincoln."
(AP Photo)
Plus, it is a very entertaining movie.

While it clocks in at well over two hours, it seldom drags. You won't miss exploding cars and pyrotechnics one bit.

When I watched the film, I felt an innate pride at being an American and knowing that our forefathers had ended the hideous practice of slavery, righting an historical wrong.

It's easy to attack the United States of America for all kinds of real and perceived shortcomings. I do it, too. But when you see a movie like this one, you're much more likely to shrug off some of the nation's foibles.

I don't know Spielberg and wouldn't dream of speaking for him. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if he intended for this film to come out in the shadow of a presidential election.

Some observers can't resist making parallels between the titanic quest of Abraham Lincoln and the struggles facing Barack Obama, as he tries to lift the nation out of economic quicksand.

Maybe that smacks of hyperbole but this movie does an excellent job of showing us audience members how a president encounters resistance all the time when he tries to advance his social and economic programs on a skeptical Congress and a divided electorate.

Does that sound familiar — just a little?

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which Penguin will publish Aug. 7. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.

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