Telling the story of the 13th Amendment’s long journey of induction into the Constitution, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, in the biopic tale of The Great Emancipator.
The soft-spoken, yet at times assertive approach that Day-Lewis takes as Lincoln is so dead on, it’s uncanny. At times, the believability of his portrayal almost makes you think that the actual President Lincoln has returned from the dead to reprise his role as the savior of slavery. But that isn’t the case.
In what many call Day-Lewis’ performance as more “Lincoln” than Lincoln, it would be a shock for him not to only be the front runner for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but a shoo-in for the win.
Even though his particular performance may outshine others, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the cast is by any means underwhelming. Just like 2012’s The Help, which wasn’t likely to take the top Best Picture prize at the Oscars, but won the SAG Award for Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture, it wouldn’t be impossible for Lincoln to follow in its footsteps.
Every actor balances both a touching emotional edge, but also an ode to a more old-fashioned style of acting that is all the more refreshing. Sally Field, who plays First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones, as Thaddeus Stevens, will most likely add another Oscar nod for their roles not only because of the love held by the Academy, but because of their strong screen time. Plus, the comedic relief given by James Spader, John Hawkes (who’s Day-Lewis’ main competition for Best Actor with his role in The Sessions), and David Strathairn and Gloria Reuben, who Entertainment Weekly is strongly enforcing the Academy to “Consider This”, and among many, many others, all combine to create such a great cast.
Clearly, the acting is a huge part of making this movie a success. At times, particularly towards the beginning, the story is a little slow and takes a while to pick up, but every moment that President Lincoln graces the screen, it creates a moment to remember. A moment cinematic magic.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Spielberg never fails to make an entire film full of breathtaking shots. After building up the story, the humor in Lincoln’s random stories, and the ways in which 13th Amendment supporters garner up votes from Representatives, all of the film ties together.
Regardless, Lincoln is an ensemble film and there is no doubt: you will leave thinking that Daniel Day-Lewis not only aced the role of President Abraham Lincoln, but also truly believe that he is Honest Abe, himself. B+