Lincoln Rant

Chrissy ON Jan 14, 2013 AT 5:32 pm

by Chrissy Iley

The other night I tried to watch Lincoln. Normally I like a bit of historical-hysterical drama. Anything in a costume gets me, or so I thought.

I tried to watch it but I became consumed by a mass of irritation about its stuffiness, its worthiness, its self-righteousness and its boringness. Its boringness got me in the end and I was asleep for most of it.


But just in case anybody was thinking of going to see it I’ll explain the essentials: Daniel Day Lewis is in it, but don’t expect any charisma. He doesn’t draw you into the screen, he draws you away from it. So everything is really unemotional, really rational, really about political machination without charm, wit or passion.

Try not to keep asking yourself ‘Why did this performance get Oscar, BAFTA or Golden Globe nominated?’ The answer is unfathomable. I tried to work that out and it is the equivalent of counting sheep. That’s what I did and I fell asleep.

The movie itself is longer than a good night’s sleep. In fact the movie seems longer than an entire war and as exhausting so if you have insomnia that’s a really good reason to go. If you don’t go the plot is, Daniel Day Lewis has just been re-elected and the American Civil War is about to be over and slaves are about to be freed, so he has to get in first and passes an act that frees them anyway, but that makes him sound like he’s more humane and spirited than he appears to be in the movie, or at least the bits I was awake for.

My mind wandered. Daniel Day-Lewis, didn’t he dump the lovely Isabelle Adjani by fax when he met Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca. I saw Arthur Miller sitting between him and Spielberg at the Golden Globes. He never changed his glasses since he was with Marilyn.

In the bits I was asleep for I am told that there are some even more patronising moments of actual black characters playing servants, soldiers reciting his speeches and as wives of white men. The story is a passionate one, yet this movie was as dry as a Jacobs cracker. Lincoln had to turn on Democrats and Republicans alike to the idea that all men should be free, and women might be free at some point, like several decades down the line.

I didn’t see any passion from Daniel Day-Lewis, I saw a Thunderbirds puppet who moved about with less agility. What a bad back he must have had after acting so method stiff for so long.

There’s a scene where Daniel Day-Lewis is with this stressed looking old woman, Sally Field. Is this his mother? Is this his wife? No it is Sally Field old enough to be his mother, almost. But didn’t she have amazing work done so that she would look young enough to play lead girlfriend? Was she wearing make-up that ages her?… Was she just wearing no make-up or is she wearing make-up that makes her look old? I couldn’t get over that one. I thought she did a very good acting job and made a huge sacrifice to look that bad.

The thing with Daniel Day Lewis is you can always see him acting. Maybe that’s why he wins awards. You see him doing his job. More so than any other actor.

For me that’s just a little bit irritating.

Much as I loved Bill Clinton stepping on stage at the Golden Globes, I felt it was a trick from Steven Spielberg to get Oscar votes. I hated the way he saluted him as if they are all in one army.

Ben Affleck in Argo

I love that Ben Affleck won best director for Argo – it has everything Lincoln doesn’t – excitement, pace, passion.

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