The last of the nine Best Pictures nominees is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. To put it simply, it is a film made specifically for a 9th grade civics class. Contrary to what you might expect, this is not a bio pic. It is a story about how the 13th Amendment passed the House of Representatives in January of 1865....the actual way it passed, not the sanitized, history book version.
My only complaint of the film (similar to my beef with Django Unchained) is that it should have ended 20 minutes before it did. There is a fantastic moment when President Lincoln puts on his hat and walks off down the hallway of the White House residence to go to the theater. His butler watches him go and....the film goes on. We see his son's reaction to the news of his father being shot and a massive historical inaccuracy when they lay him out on the bed at the Petersen House and he fits in the frame! No doubt, Hollywood needs to learn how to end a film.
Yet, the performances of dazzling. Of course, Daniel Day Lewis is amazing but we expect that from him, right? The true diamond in the rough in this picture is Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens. A remarkable portrayal, to be sure, but interestingly accurate. Stevens was a true intellect with a sharp wit, relying on both to carry through whatever legislation he supported. It is worth the price of admission just for his performance.