Lincoln, Lincoln, I been thinkin’ … what on Earth was Spielberg thinkin’? Great cast. Lots of fun recognizing the guy from Boardwalk Empire and the actor from the original Angels in America, the list was truly endless. But this is Lincoln a la mode with a cup of sugar to make it extra sticky sweet. Lincoln phone home!
The upside is the acting and the chance to see an amazing cast all in once place, especially B-level gay icon (and A-level actress) Sally Field. I bumped into her once in a theater line – really, bumped into her – and said the only thing that can be said in the presence of greatness: “I love your work!”
The downside is that Daniel Day-Lewis, who will be Oscar nominated by default, isn’t given the layers to play with this character. The whole thing felt consciously reverential from start to finish. Wise humor peppered the movie throughout. Tommy Lee Jones OF COURSE had a black wife, or mistress, whichever she was (played by C-level gay icon S Epatha Merkerson). And that ending? Why not at least show the scene at Ford’s theater, even if they cut away for the gunshot? It was so unsatisfying.
While I feel obligated to hold Abraham Lincoln in reverence, I don’t feel any such obligation with Steve Spielberg. I would say definitely see this movie, but ignore the talk of greatness. It doesn’t merit it.
Lastly, I noticed chatter in the gayosphere about gay Pulitzer winner Tony Kushher writing the script and why he didn’t show Lincoln’s gayness. Must we really continue this? There was no such thing as a “gay identity” in 1865. Perhaps Lincoln was homosexual, or bisexual, or a “man-who-writes-florid-letters-to-men” and does or does not have sex with them, but the whole “Lincoln Was Gay” thing has run its course. We’ve made enough social progress to stop acting desperate for gay heroes. Let Lincoln be Lincoln.