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: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 15, 2012
    90
    If it sounds like so much backroom politicking, it is. But it's exceptionally interesting, entertaining backroom politicking.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 8, 2012
    88
    It makes politics exciting again.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Nov 16, 2012
    100
    Spielberg has never made a more sophisticated and less sentimental picture. He and writer Tony Kushner craft it like a historical thriller.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 7, 2012
    100
    Rarely has a film attended more carefully to the details of politics.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 8, 2012
    100
    It blends cinematic Americana with something grubbier and more interesting than Americana, and it does not look, act or behave like the usual perception of a Spielberg epic. It is smaller and quieter than that.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 4, 2012
    100
    The movie is grand and immersive. It plugs us into the final months of Lincoln's presidency with a purity that makes us feel transported as though by time machine.
  11. 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.
  12. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 8, 2012
    90
    There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg's direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point.
  13. 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.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 16, 2012
    100
    What plays out is something like CSPAN 1865. That is, it's dense, talky stuff at times -- particularly at its start, as the film takes a good 15 minutes to gain traction -- but also highly rewarding and instructive.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 8, 2012
    80
    The history lesson in Steven Spielberg's austere, engrossing Lincoln is less about the revered President himself but his method for justice.
  16. 90
    Lincoln is too sharply focused to deserve the pejorative "biopic" label. It's splendid enough to make me wish Spielberg would make a "prequel" to this instead of another Indiana Jones picture.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 15, 2012
    88
    Never mind a few misguided casting choices; Lincoln is exceptionally good, elevated by a preternatural star turn, and by the energy and invention its director displays in telling a story that doesn't rely on action and special effects.
  21. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 15, 2012
    75
    Spielberg manages to give us a Lincoln for our times, inspiringly heroic but demonstrably human.
  22. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 18, 2012
    88
    Lincoln paints a powerful and compelling portrait of the man who has become an icon. We don't need to see more of his life to understand how rare a figure he was - this window is more than sufficient.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 8, 2012
    88
    The result, glitches and all, is a great American movie.
  24. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 9, 2012
    100
    Whatever moment of inspiration caused Spielberg to cast her (Sally Field) as Mary Todd Lincoln, it was sheer genius, because this is a role that demands bigness.
  25. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 8, 2012
    100
    The experience of watching Daniel Day-Lewis in this role is nothing less than thrilling. This is Lincoln. No need for a time machine, there he is.
  26. 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.
  27. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 1, 2013
    80
    Lincoln does sometimes get a little sappy around the edges. Though his project here is clearly one of conscious self-restraint, Spielberg can't resist the occasional opportunity for patriotic tear-jerking, usually signaled by a swell of John Williams' symphonic score. But in between, there are long stretches that are as quiet, contemplative, and austere as anything Spielberg has ever done.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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 »