Lincoln: A picture maybe by Spielberg but certainly of and for Day-Lewis

Lincoln's story is fairly well-known. A leader largely loved by the people and confronted with seemingly unsurmountable problems of keeping the union together, ending the American Civil War and ending slavery all at the same time. Lincoln was deliberate, thoughtful and largely depended on legal rather than moral arguments for fighting for the causes. He saw the war, the Southern cessation and slavery as illegal more than he saw them as immoral. He wasn't averse to the practical considerations of politics, the dirty horse trading and everything that goes into getting anything work in Washington.

The film helps us put that in perspective. While most practical considerations erode the myth of the legend of great men, Lincoln's myth, somewhat tarnished, largely stays. Spielberg's on the other hand, doesn't. His practical consideration was that for the first time he has cast someone who is an equal, superior even, in his craft as Spielberg is in his. So, instead of telling us an elaborate, cohesive tale of Lincoln, of the opposing democrats, of the largeness of the war that killed by some accounts 10% of all northern men and over 25% of all southern men, Spielberg tells us a tale of Lincoln's mannerisms. His walk, his anecdotes, his gait, his smile, his ability to listen and deliberate. In short, everything that Day-lewis, a master method actor, can bring to the table.

Armed with other, brilliant and many relatively new actors, Spielberg's Lincoln lacks the canvas of a 'Saving Private Ryan' or the moral distaste of 'Schindler's List' and often lampoons the political process, making today's partisan divide almost seem tame and a non-issue. The film has the feel, the heart, if you will, of an Independent Film but the mind of a multiple Oscar aiming machine.

Tommy Lee Jones, as Thaddeus Stevens presents the films one and only moral intrigue. Why does he believe in racial equality? Is it because of his personal indiscretion or because of an implicit belief? What came first? Did the belief lead to his behavior of did behavior led to his belief?

Sally Field is brilliant, as a rather energized, almost disturbed first lady, who is misfit for the travails of her husband's great burden. If this is her last hurrah, Field has done it justice.

James Spader, in a brilliant, if brief role is a welcome presence and so is Jared Harris, who is clearly a surprise winner as Ulysses S. Grant.

Lincoln eventually is a a picture, maybe made by Spielberg, but certainly of and for Daniel Day-Lewis.