Spielberg's LINCOLN Looks Very ... Historical

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

Not that anyone was expecting Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln to be anything like Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but the first poster for the film makes clear the distinctions.

No vampires. No executions by the Chief Executive. No hands-on violence.

Instead, we have a very safe, very dignified, very much expected portrait of a president. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense: Communicate the idea that this is an award-worthy film, A Very Serious Film From A Very Important Filmmaker Starring A Very Good Actor -- Please Give Us Academy Awards. And the prospect of an excellent performance by Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the one thing that may draw in those who are not entranced by the prospect of Mr. Spielberg giving history a rosy glow.

While I'm concerned about Spielberg's increasing tendency toward sentimentalization, he is an exceptionally talented filmmaker, and I'm hoping that Tony Kushner's work on the screenplay (for which Paul Webber is also credited, based on a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin) will yield something far more interesting than a straightforward historical portrait.

Lincoln releases in the U.S. on November 9.

Around the Internet:
  • malackow

    "two historical movies that are considered by many to be all-time greats, proves that he knows how to handle historical material'

    That's why I always distrust "many." I always find it humorous when people refer to THE audience, as if it's an unchanging, homogenous mass. AN audience, ok. There's no such thing as THE audience.

    Doris Kearns Goodwin is a respected historian. Daniel Day-Lewis, MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDERETTE aside, is unassailable.

    If this movie is hackneyed, there will be one person to blame, and one person, only.

  • ChevalierAguila

    "Spielberg's increasing tendency toward sentimentalization"

    Wut? He has ben that way since...always. You haven't seen E.T it seems.

  • I've seen all of Spielberg's films, including E.T.. While the sentimental trait has always been present in his work, to a lesser or greater degree -- rendering his segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie nearly unwatchable, for example -- I expressed my opinion that this tendency has been increasing in his more recent work. Sorry if that wasn't made clear.

  • mashedpotatoes

    The audience doesn't seem to mind that "sentimental trait", which is ultimately who he makes his movies for (not the critics). And "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan", two historical movies that are considered by many to be all-time greats, proves that he knows how to handle historical material.

  • mightyjoeyoung

    "While I'm concerned about Spielberg's increasing tendency toward sentimentalization"

    Well, he is not alone in that department, but one of the worst.

    But who knows, he might surprise us, Mr Martin.

    "will yield something far more interesting than a straightforward historical portrait."

    I would be surprised by that....I think Spielberg is going to play it safe. Thanks for the poster Mr Martin.

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