Lincoln

A-

This was a movie I have been wanting to see for a long time and never got around to watching until five years after it came out. They wisely focus only on one part of Lincoln, his final days as he works to end the Civil War and set up a legal landscape for the United States post-slavery. His prime goal is to end slavery since he fears the Emancipation Proclamation would not hold up after the war. With all of that set up the entire movie is like a retro version of West Wing as Lincoln and his advisors figure out a way to get the legislation passed. Meanwhile there is some personal stuff with Mary Todd Lincoln and Lincoln's sons, plus some other schemes involving the Civil War and managing the media. It is hard to do politics well in a movie, but Lincoln succeeds by keeping the story small instead of being distracted by the enormity of what is happening. It is nice to put familiar faces with some of the names of the period like William Seward, Thaddeus Stevens, and others. By using actors we know it is easier to tell everyone apart and keep the large cast straight (they're not just old guys in hats). I don't know that this kind of movie is for everyone, but as a fan of West Wing I enjoyed seeing some of what was going on and why, even with the South sitting out of Congress, it was not that easy to pass an amendment to end slavery. They jumble the timeline a little, but they seemed to have gotten a lot of things right and this is a good movie, though maybe not quite dramatic enough to be great.