Monday, January 21, 2013

16 to 44: A Day of Presidents

The day the 44th president of the United States made an inauguration speech that included equality for all including gays and lesbians, I thought a fitting time to finally see the movie of our 16th president. After all, I've always stated that his quote is my favorite. (“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”) And that he was assassinated on my birthday (ok...I know, many years apart) has also made me feel a connection to this man. So myself and a handful of others sat in what seemed like our own private screening room and watched the Spielberg movie of LINCOLN. 

It is hard not to watch the movie and think of the parallels that we see happen today, especially where congress is concerned. And I'm sure many people would debate this is liberal Hollywood attempting to push an agenda. But what is so wonderful is watching where Republicans and Democrats stood on the line to help a Republic president push through an Amendment to end Slavery. An amendment for equality. Spielberg has done a wonderful job at telling a story where the outcome is already known: and yet still manages to build tension and make us feel as we watch each person place their vote. 

Lincoln aging in 5 years during the war.
Daniel Day-Lewis has always been a favorite of mine and in this role, he gives a stoic, unassuming, brilliant performance. He truly brought history alive in his performance as Mr. President and made me think about this man who wanted nothing more than to see this accomplished. No matter the cost to what it could mean to those around him. I found him subtle and yet riveting. (The man has my vote for the Oscar!) (As a side note: he reminded me so much of my own grandfather in this film that I'm sure that connected deeply as well. From stature to his slow swagger of a walk - I felt as if my grandfather was alive again.)

Mary Todd & Sally Field
Sally Field was worried about her age in playing Mary Todd, but I saw her and her costar as complete contemporaries. She showed a strong first lady who also dealt with so much loss in life...and portrays it beautifully. There is nothing this woman can't do and I love each performance she gives.

I felt a strong sense of country pride seeing the film on the Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as well. It spoke to me in ways I find hard to convey in words. I was overcome with a sense of gratitude to Mr. Lincoln when the film ended, but also a great sense of sadness in his assassination before it was fully adopted. I also left the theater and couldn't get to my car quickly enough to hide the tears the movie brought to my eyes. When this strong president was fighting for what he believed right: that all men should have equality even when he didn't know what it would mean for the African-Americans going forward (as the movie stated) - he never knew that almost 150 years later a black man would be leading the country. Say what you will about politics and which person you want to see leading the country: watching a historical movie where we now know what transpires afterwards is pretty incredible. 

Equality is a wonderful thing for us to continue to talk about. Thank you, Mr. Spielberg for bringing this story to us...especially during this particular time in our country and showing democracy in action.


  1. Lincoln has always been a favorite of mine, as I was born just before his birthday,though a few years apart, as well as for what he did for equality. Though some historians argue his true motives, he still is a great man for what he did. I will definitely add this movie to my "Must-sees" before it goes away.

    1. I absolutely recommend it. Theater people will hate me for saying: but I enjoyed it more than Les Mis.