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DVD review: Day-Lewis rekindles the spirit of Honest Abe in 'Lincoln'
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grade • B+

DVD • The joy of Stephen Spielberg's "Lincoln" is watching Daniel Day-Lewis' justly praised (and Oscar-winning) portrayal of the 16th president. Day-Lewis captures Lincoln's gift for homespun anecdotes, his sly political savvy, and his inner despair from Civil War death tolls and personal grief — combining all that into a performance that's not just actorly details but heartfelt embodiment.

Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner surround that great performance with a riveting story of political gamesmanship, as Lincoln maneuvers to cajole Congress into passing the anti-slavery 13th Amendment. There are rich gems in Tommy Lee Jones' irascible Thaddeus Stephens, David Straithairn's cagey William Seward and a trio of wheeler-dealer lobbyists (James Spader, John Hawkes, and Tim Blake Nelson).

The movie's main failing is that it's too long, and ends with a rote depiction of Lincoln's death that doesn't do justice to Day-Lewis' heroic efforts to bring the man to life. —

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