Sir Daniel Day-Lewis delivers one of the greatest portrayals of onscreen persona in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns. The film presents us with final years of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the turmoil of the civil war, and his struggles to abolish slavery once and for all.
The American Civil War is in its final year; Lincoln powered by “radical Republican” support presents the 13th Amendment for abolishing slavery; his wife and elder son have contradicting opinions on the latter’s war-time duties; amidst all this he maintains his cool, tries to secure the necessary support for the amendment , end the war, and maintain healthy family relation. His political intelligence, his oratory, shrewdness is mixed recurrently and serves a great tool for bringing out an entirely historical plotline. Steven Spielberg spent years on developing the script, and the result is almost in perfect connection to the history as we know. The minute details are accurate, the locations and sets are flawless, as seen in the images retrieved from the pages of history. Spielberg does a magnificent job of handling the film realistically yet aesthetically, which is a difficult task as directors often tend to sacrifice one for the sake of the other. The score by longtime collaborator John Williams is also worth a mention. The script is taut without any unnecessary deviations from the principle characters or their motif.
Tommy Lee Jones as the upright, satirical Thaddeus Stevens is dazzling. Sally Field as Mrs. Lincoln also deserves the praise. But, it is Sir Daniel Day-Lewis whose remarkably realistic look of the President, his accent and mannerisms confuses the viewers and makes them ponder whether the President himself has returned for the sake of the camera. Being the method actor he is, Day-Lewis took about a year to prepare for the role. Never does one realize that it is Day-Lewis, so intense is his acting. It is deep and powerful yet not a bit forceful or exaggerated; it is as if he has been Lincoln his whole life, so natural is his acting. Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the greatest actors the world has ever seen, gives an extraordinary performance as Abraham Lincoln, one of the political pioneers of the world.
Film Score: 86
Director: Steven Spielberg Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Doris Kearns(Book) Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski Editing: Michael Kahn Production Design: Rick Carter Costume Design: Joanna Johnston Music: John Williams Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field,Joseph Gordon-Levitt