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Critic's Pick: The incomparable 'Lincoln'

November 15, 2012|By Betsy Sharkey
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, center rear, stars in "Lincoln."
Daniel Day-Lewis, center rear, stars in "Lincoln." (David James, Associated…)

Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kusher and the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis may have done the impossible in "Lincoln": They've given us a politician to love — without reservations. Drawing on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's expansive "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," the filmmaking collective conjures up a portrait of a far more nuanced leader than the stoic country lawyer in a stove-pipe hat. Indeed, the strength of the film rests in the strength of the character — a whimsical raconteur, a brilliant strategist and a troubled humanist. The heart of the story is the president's unyielding push to pass the 13th amendment and ensure the freedom accorded by the Emancipation Proclamation. Day-Lewis is equally unwilling to compromise, burying himself so deeply in Lincoln that the true spirit of that long-ago leader rises with such passion and purity that it is humbling to watch.

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