Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis revive President Lincoln in film


One of the most anticipated films of the Thanksgiving season, Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” opened in theaters on Nov. 16 and amazed audiences with the sheer chemistry of its talented cast. Daniel Day-Lewis was particularly inspiring as the titular figure, giving a very honest and sophisticated interpretation of the 16th president.

The film surrounds the events of 1865, when Lincoln fought to pass the 13th Amendment that would abolish slavery forever. In the film, Lincoln worries that once the Civil War ends, his Emancipation Proclamation will be cast aside as a wartime measure, and newly freed slaves will be subject to re-enslavement. Lincoln seeks help from both the Republican and Democratic parties in order to pass the Amendment in the House of Representatives.

However, Lincoln’s personal life comes into play at a crucial time when his oldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) returns from college determined to enlist, bringing unforeseen tension to the Lincoln family.

Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), already tormented by the death of their younger son Edward, is horrified at the thought of her son going to war and pleads with her husband not to let him go. In one powerful scene, Mary screams at Lincoln, accusing him of not doing enough to save Edward. She tells him that if Robert dies, he may as well send her to the “mad house” because she could not cope with the death of another child.

Though the film was strongly focused on the historical aspects of the 13th Amendment rather than the life of President Lincoln, it was very enjoyable.

Although Lewis gave a great performance as Lincoln, one of the absolute greatest characters was Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), a highly influential member of the Republican party. Stevens’s every line seemed to elicit laughter from the audience. He was very sarcastic and witty, and I wanted to see more of him.  

This film was absolutely one of the year’s best. Lewis is sure to pick up an Oscar nomination for his role. This historical drama keeps the audience entertained through the length of the film and even offers many comedic moments. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sid Arguello is a senior in psychology and sociology. Please send comments to