For completeness purposes - Lincoln (2012) Released: November 16, 2012 (Originally viewed November 20, 2012) In spite of its title which suggests a full life story, director Steven Spielberg's outstanding Lincoln focuses on just a few months from the 16th U.S. president's life. The film opens with the Civil War nearing its end. President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is trying to get Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that will end slavery. He sends out those in agreement with his cause to persuade undecided members to vote for the amendment. Meanwhile a crisis of conscience occurs when the opportunity to end the war presents itself, which would also mean no freedom for the slaves. How Lincoln deals with both personal issues and his desire for all men to be free is the story Lincoln tells. While the critical success of Lincoln is no surprise its financial take is. Here is a period film which consists mostly of dialogue and courtroom strategy. This is not the kind of film which typically grosses more than $150K. Sure it has the well-known Spielberg name attached but that didn't make either of his 2011 offerings members of the domestic $100K club. Perhaps it's the timeliness of the story and its parallels to today. At the time Lincoln first hit the screens politicians were trying to overt the fiscal cliff and having everyone's taxes go up. All of this was abundantly covered by all types of media. Essentially the ultimate solution consisted of negotiating and re-negotiating, give-and-take, and for people to make concessions (and maybe backroom deals). This is the story of Lincoln, a politician trying to get passed something he believes in in spite of being told it is impossible. Lincoln will have to make some deals. break some promises, and perhaps compromise his own morals at times. We see how history does in fact repeat itself. Much has been made of Daniel Day-Lewis' transformative performance. It is truly a marvel. Day-Lewis completely disappears into the character. Most of the time he is speaks quietly and warmly, ready with an anecdote or smile. But there are also moments where he passionately makes his case, whether it's to his fellow Republicans or his own wife. The guard is let down and we see the worry and vulnerability. Lincoln may be playing politics with passing the amendment, but we get the sense he is ultimately doing what he is doing because he believes in freedom for all. (That racial discrimination still continues almost 150 years after the 13th amendment's passage may also be a factor in Lincoln's success.) Once again director Spielberg and his regular team (editor Michael Kahn, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, production designer Rick Carter, costume designer Joanna Johnston) put on a technically flawless show. The large cast never feels overwhelming and the period recreation is convincing. The attention to detail is the result of Spielberg working on Lincoln for nearly ten years, and it was well worth the wait and effort. But Lincoln is also the first Steven Spielberg-directed picture that is better known for its lead performance than its director. No actor - as yet - has won an Oscar for a Spielberg film. That will almost certainly change come this Sunday. Yet Lincoln has earned Spielberg his seventh Oscar nomination for directing and he has a good chance of winning. At this stage in his career Spielberg is almost taken for granted after having directed for more than forty years. Lincoln, clearly his best film since Munich, reminds us just how a great a director Spielberg can be when he brings true passion to a project.