APUSH nerds unite. The backstory of President Abraham Lincoln’s involvement in the Civil War is dramatized and modernized in Lincoln. In theaters now, this film is a history buff’s dream.
The movie is factually accurate and goes in sequential order. However, if you want to be surprised when you watch it on the big screen, here is your spoiler alert.
Lincoln begins four years into the Civil War in 1865, when the Union is on the brink of a victory over the Confederate States. President Lincoln has just been re-elected into the Oval Office and is concerned about the future of the country. During the war he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed about 50,000 slaves. Still, he worries that the proclamation will be discarded by the courts during the reconstruction of the United States and pushes for the 13th Amendment to be ratified.
The film centers around President Lincoln’s struggle to ratify the amendment. He faces extreme opposition from both political parties and has to fight for every vote. It consumes his life in the last four months before he is assassinated. With the war drawing to a close, it is a risky move to ratify the 13th Amendment because it will anger the already enraged Confederacy. With the gift of time, we can acknowledge the courage of President Lincoln, which the film skillfully portrays.
If you have no interest in history, Lincoln is not the film for you. Even for the most enthusiastic of fans, the movie is long, dark, and slow. Watching two and a half hours of history is as long as it sounds. Short attention spans beware.
Also, if you are sleep deprived from your endless nights of studying, you may want to chose something a little more lighthearted. Lincoln is shot (no pun intended) in very dark lighting, giving the film an eerie and serious feel. In the already dim theater however, you may catch yourself dozing off into battlefield-infested nightmares.
Yet Lincoln is a great way to learn more about one of the most influential people in American history. While it is not the most riveting movie you will see this year, it is a fair way to spend a few dollars and a few hours.