November 22, 2012
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Saw Lincoln today. Great movie about a great man. Many of the scenes had the feel to me of sitting in a small theater watching an ensemble company put on a play. I can’t say enough about the acting and the dialogue, although I found a lot of the scenes with Mary Todd Lincoln to be excruciating. I don’t know why, but I just find Sally Field to be unwatchable. There’s something about her I just don’t like.
Although the movie is well worth the time and cost, I frequently catch myself during movies like this wondering how much of it is true to history. We can’t possibly know how accurate the dialogue is and that’s OK. I caught two historical inaccuracies that were particularly galling to me because they were pretty clearly false and cause me to wonder even more about what else was inaccurate. Yes, it’s a movie, a dramatization, but it’s about an incredible event in our history. I’d like it to be as honest as possible to the actual history. Those two inaccuracies … there’s a reference to the Tammany Hall machine, which didn’t exist until well into the 1870s. There’s a reference to Lincoln being on the 50 cent piece. Actually, no, he wasn’t. Odd thing is that neither of those inaccuracies were necessary. What else was wrong?
Ultimately, though, the movie left me with just an unsettled feeling about all of the incredible leaders, who were imperfect human beings in their own ways, who have been taken far too early. Abraham Lincoln. The Kennedys. Martin Luther King. The many Gandhis who have been assassinated. Those are the highlights. I’m sure there are many more. But, think about each of those assassinations. Great leaders in times of turmoil killed by individuals dissatisfied with what they represented and intent on sowing turmoil and ending the visions of those leaders. Here’s where it all leads me to … I hope and pray (in my own un-Godly way) that nothing happens to Barack Obama. I have no doubt that there are people out there thinking the same thoughts of those who killed Lincoln and JFK, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Let’s hope they fail.
All that aside, go see Lincoln. Great, great movie.