Captain’s Log 4,494
I was blessed last night to see a preview of the new film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was surprised. I was also surprised by the short lead time we had to find someone and get to the theatre. The notice arrived via email about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. The screening was at 7:00. That’s not a lot of time. I made calls and texted various people, and my friend Pandora was able to go with me.
Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln
I learned so much from this film. I thought I had a good grasp on the history of this period, but I had no idea about the perilous timing of getting the 13th Amendment passed and ending the Civil War. Some contended that if the war ended before the vote, the Amendment would never pass because there would have been no economic need, etc. Ending slavery because of its moral implications was a very hard sell. Interesting.
The film humanized Lincoln and presented him as a tender and thoughtful man – a deep thinker who knew when to wait before opening his mouth. We could all use that lesson. He loved his wife and his children dearly. The supposed madness of Mary Todd Lincoln was alluded to but not really made evident. They now speculate she might have suffered from bipolar disorder. We will never know. She was educated and wealthy and did not fit in well with the Washington folks. She also had three of her four sons die before they reached adulthood. That would drive anyone over the edge. Sally Field did a marvelous job portraying her in the movie.
The theatre was not very full, but security was very tight. All cell phones had to be 1) taken back to our cars for safekeeping or 2) given to the production people who secured and ticketed them for pickup after the film. All bags were searched and everyone was “wanded” before being allowed to enter. They made an announcement before the film started that they would be standing in the back. If they say a glow of a cell phone (that may have been successfully smuggled in) at any time, the offender would be escorted from the theatre immediately.
It’s hard to watch Lincoln in 2012 without thinking of the current political climate. The parties traded political places over the last 150 years, and that in itself is a great story. It would be hard for me to fathom today’s Republicans in favor of abolishing slavery and the Democrats so vocal and mean-spirited in their attempt to keep slavery intact. It was weird. Surreal. But with Palin’s crass “shuck and jive” remarks about Obama’s handling of Libya and Ann Coulter calling him a “retard,” I am disheartened to see how slowly we are evolving as a nation. How sad. Lincoln wouldn’t stand a chance of getting elected as a Republican today. Not even close.
The battle scenes are brutal – as well they should be. With 775,638 known deaths attributed to combat and disease, it was the worst war in our history. And, as far as I am concerned, it’s still not over. There are still people who hold on to the old ways and ideas that some people are more equal than others. The current targets are race, gender, sexual preference, religion, and nationality. In some ways, we have found even MORE ways to hate than we had back in the 1860’s. The work of a peace warrior is not only more difficult, it’s also more necessary.
If Daniel Day Lewis doesn’t take home the Oscar for this one I will eat my dirty socks. Enough said.
Go see this film. It’s brilliant. It’s also long. It’s confusing in parts. It’s filmed in shadows and through filmy curtains. It rains a lot too. But you will learn more about the true spirit of goodness than you ever dreamed possible.