My observations from viewing Spielberg’s “Lincoln”

by midlifecrisisqueen on December 20, 2012

I just found out the entire U.S. Senate viewed the new film Lincoln yesterday with Steven Spielberg.  What a brilliant idea!

I have always been a biography and history buff.  I even received a master’s degree in history a few decades back.

I would like to share with you how much I enjoyed watching Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” here.  So glad the makers of this film went to such lengths to portray this story with authenticity and integrity, creating realistic scenes which carefully captured the look and feel of Washington city at the beginning of 1865.

This film is partially based on the book “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a stellar American historian and top Lincoln scholar, so we know we are watching a realistic portrayal of Lincoln, his family relationships, and how Congress worked back then.  Daniel Day-Lewis is also outstanding in his portrayal of a man at war with himself, his wife, his cabinet, and the Congress.

The first thing that struck me as this film began was how dark and cold all the rooms appeared, and the smoke which seemed to hang in the air everywhere.  I soon realized how realistic this was because lighting was so low back then with only oil lamps, just like the minimal heat put off by fireplaces, and these all created lots of smoke everywhere.

My second impression was how absolutely male-dominated this world was.  There really was no place for women in Washington at that time, except at the occasional “shindig.”  I certainly would have had a hard time being a woman back then!  The inequalities were so built into the culture, which was called attention to at one point when one member of Congress mentioned the likelihood of universal suffrage, creating a gigantic guffaw in Congress!

This film is focused on how difficult it was for Lincoln to get the 13th Amendment (the Emancipation Proclamation) through Congress,  just as the Civil Was was winding down, a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.  A time when everyone in Congress needed to “man up” and realize their vote represented a historic moment created to either save or destroy the future of our country.

See any similarities to what’s happening in our Congress today?  Sure hope those in Congress do!

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