Lincoln – the movie

Yesterday it rained. In fact it rained a lot. It was also a Sunday.

The previous day, we’d gone and bought some additional plants for the front yard to plant round the new car parking spot we’d had put in last November, it not being an act of sanity to plant out the area during summer with its scorching days and bushfire alerts.

Well we got the tools out, the plants sat in a row on the path and we were just doing the ‘is that best here or over there’ bit when the heavens opened.

We retreated to sit on the covered part of the deck and sip mint tea while we waited to see if the rain would clear. It didn’t, but while it slackened for a moment,  I recovered the tools and moved the plants back up behind the house to wait for another day.

So what to do on a wet late summer afternoon? Well we’d been meaning to go and see Lincoln, so that’s exactly what we did.

The movie should have been titled ‘How not quite Honest Abe got the 13th Amendment passed’ – but then that probably wouldn’t have sold.

The movie revolves around the politicking involved in getting the 13th Amendment to the US constitution through Congress. The 13thAmendment is the one that forbids slavery in the United States, and while Lincoln had proclaimed the emanicipation of slaves earlier in the civil war as part of his extraordinary measures in wartime, the long term legal basis of emancipation was distinctly shaky.

The film revolves around the politicking and dealing that took place to get the amendment passed before the South surrendered – if the South surrendered the war would be over, Lincoln’s emergency powers would expire and the legal basis of emancipation would be dubious, with the consequent risk of there being unfinished business left over and eventually provoking a second civil war.

Despite what you might think from the trailers, this is not an action film. It’s about talk and deals, and beautifully if simply photographed. If you like politics you’ll enjoy it. or more accurately you’ll enjoy all but the last thirty minutes.

The film is overlong with a slightly maudlin ending in which Lincoln is reconciled with his wife (one of the subplots is his marital tensions), the South surrenders and Lincoln is shot. The film would be better if it ended on a high note after passage of the amendment – Honest Abe wins the day rather than a drawn out ending that has little dramatic value.

That said, it’s a good film and worth seeing if you have the chance.

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About dgm

IT professional, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical and medieval historian ...
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One Response to Lincoln – the movie

  1. Pingback: How the news of Lincoln’s assassination reached Australia | stuff 'n other stuff

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