Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Nov 2, 2012
    80
    Tony Kushner's densely packed script has been directed by Spielberg in an efficient, unpretentious way that suggests Michael Curtiz at Warner Bros. in the 1940s, right down to the rogue's gallery of great character actors in a multitude of bewhiskered supporting roles backing up a first-rate leading performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.
  2. Reviewed by: Katey Rich
    Oct 29, 2012
    80
    If only modern American politics were remotely as entertaining.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 15, 2012
    75
    Spielberg manages to give us a Lincoln for our times, inspiringly heroic but demonstrably human.
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 14, 2012
    75
    Lincoln is like a thoroughly researched poli-sci term paper come to life, with interesting personal material about the participants relegated to footnotes.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 9, 2012
    75
    Whenever Jones is on screen, the film's energy level kicks up several notches, an indication, I think, that Spielberg otherwise overdoses on directorial decorum.
  6. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Nov 8, 2012
    75
    It's a must-see for Daniel Day-Lewis' charismatic, subtly shaded performance as Lincoln - and an even richer one by Tommy Lee Jones.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 8, 2012
    75
    At two and a half hours, Lincoln contains only a single battle scene in its opening seconds. The rest is pure talk, a keen dramatization of Doris Kearns Goodwin's tome "Team of Rivals," that delivers an overview of Lincoln's crowning achievement in chunks of strategy talk.
  8. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Nov 7, 2012
    75
    Lincoln is built around a magnetic Day-Lewis turn, and the film is a memorable, sometimes stirring look at how even the most righteous bill must struggle, and even cheat, to become a law. It demands a bigger stage than the one it's given here.
  9. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Nov 12, 2012
    70
    Lincoln, written by Tony Kushner, directed by Steven Spielberg, and derived in part from Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," is a curious beast. The title suggests a monolith, as if going to this movie were tantamount to visiting Mt. Rushmore, and the running time, of two and a half hours, prepares you for an epic. Yet the film is a cramped and ornery affair, with Spielberg going into lockdown mode even more thoroughly than he did in "The Terminal."
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 2, 2012
    70
    The result looks as much like a Natural History Museum diorama as it sounds: a respectful but waxy re-creation that feels somehow awe-inspiring yet chillingly lifeless to behold, the great exception being Jones' alternately blistering and sage turn as Stevens.
  11. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Nov 14, 2012
    67
    His (Spielberg) is an old-fashioned style of moviemaking that can produce soaring entertainment or, alternately, a fussed-over theatricality. Minute to minute, Lincoln moves between these extremes.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 15, 2012
    50
    For his complex portrayal, Day-Lewis is likely to have roses thrown at his feet, but for the dreadful film in which he's enslaved, emancipated onlookers will reach for the grapes of wrath.
  13. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Nov 13, 2012
    50
    There's something deeply poetic about Lincoln making his way through a changed nation to meet his demise. Such poetry is nowhere to be found in Lincoln.
  14. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 6, 2012
    50
    Lincoln is also a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake - which, like the film itself, didn't always work.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 580 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 170
  1. Nov 24, 2012
    4
    I must be in the minority, but I was very disappointed with "Lincoln". I really enjoy history and biography, had read Goodwin's book and had heard almost unanimous praise for the movie. However, I thought the film was tedious, the script very stilted, and the acting rather mundane. If this had been a movie without the hype, the well known cast and director, and the subject, I am sure more of the critics would have panned it. I kept looking at my watch and wondering when it was going to show all the great things that had been written about it. A real disappointment. Full Review »
  2. Nov 27, 2012
    3
    If you look at many of the good reviews, you will see the problem, in my mind, with this movie. It is a bit too slow, too monotone, and simply too stuffy. There could have been so much more color and life. I think we should have seen different perspectives, such as from the angle of a simple working person and from the angle of the south. The movie leaves out Lincoln's great speeches, making only brief references. The movie leaves out the assassination, and what we know about who did it and why. The real death blow to the movie, for me, was the lack of vigor in why and what they were fighting for. After all, huge numbers of americans died. So, for me the movie was a dud. I think a lot of people are caught up in the moment. By the way, the supporting acting was GREAT, and I would give an award to Sally Fields. Full Review »
  3. Dec 3, 2012
    8
    Spielberg & Tony Kushner managed to to transfer us into the mind of Lincoln giving us a historical thriller that will soon become a "Classic".The film has the two "battlefields" of war and politics that keep us on the edge of our seats.As it goes for Daniel Day-Lewis(Lincoln) I have only one word: "Breathtaking". Full Review »