"Lincoln" Is Enjoyable But Misses Key Aspect of the Man

Submitted December 10, 2012

"Lincoln" Is Enjoyable But Misses Key Aspect of the Man
Source: Dreamworks Pictures

Lincoln , the current Steven Spielberg movie playing the theaters, is notable. It's based on the well-researched and Pulitzer Prize-winning book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The movie depicts the political genius of Lincoln as he formed a cabinet of men who were often in disagreement with him and one another, yet were very good at the job they did. The testy relationship he had with Secretary of State William Seward was well portrayed. 

Of course, Hollywood dramatizes events, as the movie covers the last months of Lincoln's life—beginning in January 1865 as the Civil War was winding down, to his assassination on April 15 th . Dramatic music makes much of events that may or may not have been as dramatic. The savagery, horror and inhumanity of war were portrayed realistically. The president’s wife Mary Todd Lincoln was shown as a woman of fits of temper often played out in public.

Abraham Lincoln is resolute in standing in advocating the 13 th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery in America. He stood strong even when strongly advised by his cabinet against the timing of this action. This amendment was expected to be defeated because the South had not been conquered. The general thought was to wait until after the South surrendered. But Lincoln kept pressing on. The film vividly portrays some of the shenanigans the Republicans did in order to talk the Democratic House members into voting for the amendment, such as bribery and patronage job offers after their terms expired.

Above all, the resoluteness of Lincoln as a man of strong will was all but glorified. Modern day leaders could do well to be emboldened by this sort of movie. Lincoln’s stubbornness prevailed as the amendment squeaked by in a very close vote. His example could convince a leader to stand strong to counsel, majorities and sensibility to push on with his dream, no matter what. That being said, resoluteness on the wrong issues is a disaster. It takes a strong moral foundation to know which issues should be uncompromised on.

While Lincoln had its entertainment and historical documentary value, I found one particular virtue of Abraham Lincoln loudly absent.  It is one that paints his life so different from what he experienced. 

Abraham Lincoln as a young man read the Bible through many times. He was devout in his faith in God, not himself. He spoke courageously against the nation’s sins and called on the people of the United States to repent from the hideous actions that led to our worst national behavior: a war between brothers that created bitterness, vestiges of which last to this day. Lincoln decried this behavior and pleaded for the nation to fast, pray and return to God. None of Lincoln’s faith and calling on God was brought out in this movie. Yet there was a plenty of places where God’s name was taken in vain and cursed. I found this omission of such an important aspect of Lincoln the man so prominent that it undid so much of the rest of this movie. 

When people ask me about the movie, I feel compelled to comment on this because while the movie may have been most accurate in telling the story of early 1865, it undid the accuracy of who Lincoln really was and where he derived his power in leading the greatest nation on the earth.

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Thomasj's picture

Hello Mr. Kubik,

My question to you would be why you chose to see the movie at all? Did you read the reviews before seeing the movie? We read the reviews in advance and did not see the movie because of all of the profanity in it.


Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello Thomas,

Why to see this film? For its magnificent biblical themes! “‘[Isn’t this] a day acceptable to the LORD…: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood? …rebuild the ancient ruins…restore the foundations laid long ago’” (Isaiah 58:5b-7, 12 HCSB 2009)!


Graham's picture

The problem with most movies of interest is that extremism, vulgarity, sex and blasphemy is introduced to sell the movie.

However, I saw a movie a few months ago that I would recommend not only for the amazing scenery and historical accuracy but because, as far as I recall, had no vulgarity, sex nor blasphemy. The movie is "War Horse".


KARS's picture

It is true that the music in any movie can send our emotions in different directions. Turn the sound off and it a whole different story. The mind isn't munipulated by it.

Thank you Mr. Kubik for your review and analysis of the movie.
Have a good week.


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