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: 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.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Nov 4, 2012
    80
    This is not really a biopic of the great President as the title might indicate, but rather a fascinating, savvy look at the inner-workings of the political process and how things in the White House get - or don't get - done.
  7. 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.
  8. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Nov 8, 2012
    80
    This Lincoln isn't an abstracted, infallible ideal, but rather a deeply conflicted, often lonely leader simply trying to do the right thing - even if that means few wrong things along on the way.
  9. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Nov 2, 2012
    88
    Steven Spielberg's film may further the heroism so associated with its subject, and favor a liberal viewpoint that leers down at the Confederates, but it's no bleeding-heart glamorization.
  10. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jan 10, 2013
    100
    As unexpected as it is intelligent, thanks to virtuoso work from Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln is landmark filmmaking, while Day-Lewis is so authentic he pulls off that stovepipe.
  11. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Jan 11, 2013
    80
    Steeped in the bitter political divisions of the Civil War, Spielberg's thrilling film about hardwon freedoms is immersed in its own time, but speaks eloquently to ours.
  12. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Nov 8, 2012
    90
    This is Day-Lewis' movie, and he does with the meditative inner stillness of his character a wonderful thing - he finds a type of heroism that runs counter to all of the usual showy movie signifiers of such a quality.
  13. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    Nov 7, 2012
    90
    This Lincoln, stunningly portrayed by Spielberg and Day-Lewis, is real and relatable and so, so cool.
  14. Reviewed by: Katey Rich
    Oct 29, 2012
    80
    If only modern American politics were remotely as entertaining.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 594 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 174
  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 »