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Generally favorable reviews- based on 594 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 594

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  1. Jun 16, 2014
    As usual, Daniel Day-Lewis shined as he played the character of U.S most prominent president of all time, Abraham Lincoln; and Steven Spielberg, with his passion for making a movie to commemorate his favorite Head of State and powerful, brilliant direction, successfully delivered a classic biography about president Lincoln's struggle with both unflinching dissent from Democratic Party and disagreement inside his own cabinet during his quest for liberation of black people from slavery for good, while still having to deal with the Civil War reaching its' final moments with escalating casualties for Union army Expand
  2. Feb 1, 2014
    Movie making at its finest. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance will be how a generation pictures the character of President Lincoln. What is compelling about this story is that it takes place in a moment in time rather than attempting to cover the entirety of the President's life. Instead, Spielberg captures the spirit of the President in his attempts to having a new constitutional amendment ratified. The script is well written, the acting is inspired, and the cinematography is near perfect. Expand
  3. Jan 25, 2014
    This movie truly amazed me. I had mixed feelings about how it was going to be. However, after watching it, I felt it was a true masterpiece. Daniel Day-Lewis once again exceeds my expectations of acting. Stephen Spielberg did an outstanding job making this film. It is such an important part of our history, and shows the struggle that Lincoln would have went through trying to free the slaves. History buffs will love this movie as I did. Very highly recommended. Expand
  4. Sep 29, 2013
    It's clear throughout 'Lincoln' that the man himself was not a man of means, he didn't come from money nor did he have much of an educational background, he learned about life through living it, rising the ranks with popularity amongst the people he served, Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a dazzling and powerful performance as the 16th President of the United States, a man with countless stories and a calm and collective attitude that resonates throughout the film, a film that breathes a sombre breath, yet it accomplishes an impressive feat of pivotal speeches, interesting characters and a story intertwined with the politics that surrounds Lincoln and his family. We pick up out story in the closing month of Lincoln's fruitful life and as he attempts to push through 13th Amendment with the aid of Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) and William Seward (David Strathairn) amongst others. The detail and careful consideration put into each political moment of this historic amendment is quite astonishing, an ensemble cast full the shoes of various figures in the life of Lincoln as he attempts to be the driving force in the abolishment of slavery in the United States, but the opportunity to break away the financial roots of the Confederacy also played a major factor in an attempt to end civil war. The film doesn't have the typical blockbuster and big-budget effect that director Steven Spielberg creates, but instead we have gatherings of important people in dark, candlelit rooms as they argue for themselves but also what truly matters, peace, there isn't epic portions of flying flags, but instead there are intensely flawed characters, never really sure of loyalty or allegiance, equality plays a major factor in the film, not just amongst the people, but for the President himself, who is often held accountable for his past as a man not coming from a privileged life, but it also fits well with a film that wants to show the real side, as Lincoln himself uses tactics, as any politician does, to sway voters, using negotiators (James Spader, John Hawkes and Blake Nelson) to change the minds of a few Democrats. The performances are the true heart and brilliance of the film, Daniel Day-Lewis captures the mannerisms of what we perceive to be the man in the top hat, a soft spoken individual but one who seems tired and endlessly in thought, often brought back down by his passionate and forthright wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), and his stubborn son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
    Writer Tony Kushner has managed to make the politics enthralling by working pivotal moments into passing parables, no fireworks or streamers necessary, it feels more real and candid when it is played out in this way, which Spielberg perfectly portrays onscreen.
    The film really should have ended five minutes earlier than it did, although we all know how the end of the sorry goes, many people probably still want to see, but a much better close happened a little earlier. Even so, this is quite an engrossing and dramatic piece, expert direction, writing and performances, sheer brilliance throughout.
  5. Sep 16, 2013
    Oh, what a movie. Spielberg is back to his old tricks to making good movies. Lincoln is a character study, as well as featuring an authentic, true performance by Daniel Day-Lewis hat seals us away and shows off his acting talents. He gets everything about Lincoln's disposition down to a tee, beard and all.
  6. Aug 22, 2013
    The real masterpiece comes from Daniel Day-Lewis' climactic performance, as well as his dead on portrayal of our greatest president. Tommy Lee Jones as the cynical Thaddeus Stevens gives us a laugh with his sardonic humor. And Sally Field scores again as the emotionally traumatized Mary Todd. The story-line is brief considering their history altogether, but "Lincoln" is a gut-wrenching memoir of the 13th Amendment. Expand
  7. Jun 28, 2013
    I'm not really into biographies or historical films, however Lincoln just fascinated me. The movie was set at the apex of his career and the film really never got boring. The acting was amazing, the narrative was well told, and it was an extremely memorable movie.
  8. Jun 20, 2013
    With excellent acting by the entire cast, deep characters, and great dialogue, Spielberg and Kushner create a beautiful film that immerses the audience into the time period and reanimate these historical characters. Through my personal passion for history and politics, I was able to recognize and appreciate the amount of detail they put into their work. Daniel Day-Lewis once again immerses himself into a role and the result is breathtaking. My favorite film of 2012, this movie is destined to be a classic. Expand
  9. Jun 9, 2013
    A great movie that makes American history come alive, with wit, humor, and pathos. Excellent acting overall and especially from Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones. I am usually not a big fan of John Williams but his music here was superb. I also admired the art and production design and especially the cinematography by Janusz Kaminski, who is an artist. I've read other reviews that complain about the movie's pacing etc. but I think the editing and Spielberg's direction are perfect I was enthralled from beginning to end. My only quibble with the film is that it depicts Connecticut congressmen voting against the 13th Amendment, which is simply not true. But in today's dysfunctional, even pathological political climate, this movie brings to life the most troubled period in U.S. history and manages to miraculously restore our faith in the U.S. political process. Expand
  10. Jun 7, 2013
    Lincoln is flat out the best picture of 2012/ Daniel day Lewis is spectacular in capturing the essence of Lincoln, as he fights for passage of the amendment that will abolish slavery. Sally field give her best performance since Forest Gump as the Volatile Mary Lincoln. Steven Spielberg does a remarkable job in captivating the viewer, as he shows how hard it us the get something past a divided congress, A lesson for today's government. I went to see this movie with high school students in attendance and the were captivated. The didn't make sound throughout the showing of the movie. Yes the movie slow at times, but so is democracy. Expand
  11. Jun 4, 2013
    I think it's safe to say that if "Argo" hadn't come out this year, this biopic of the beloved president Abraham Lincoln would for sure have won best picture. It's an american masterpiece filled with a great and powerful story along with fantastic actors that bring the characters back to life. The way this movie was shot took my breath away. I don't think I've seen such beautiful cinematography since "Saving Private Ryan". The fill of the movie is vibrate and alive. No matter if was from the war scenes or the tremendous acting, it keeps you on your toes. I've surprisingly heard people say that this movie tends to overact. Well let me just say that it does, but in the best way possible. This is the second best movie of 2012! I know that when I say it like that it makes it sound like I'm saying that the movies not good, but "Argo" (in my opinion) was still my favorite. But no matter what, you'll completely love this movie. Overall, it's a true american classic. Expand
  12. May 19, 2013
    It's confusing and a little tiring, but satisfying and therefore the performance of its cast saves the film from any negative review, apart from a policy, the film runs smoothly and its soundtrack brings an air of sweetness, which helps in the important parts of the movie and this establishes the film as one of Spielberg's best, even if he goes out of style movie director.
  13. May 14, 2013
    I expected more action than talk, but the dialogue was educating and fleshed out the characters. There were some light moments too, which made the viewing a bit easier. The film dealt more with the politics of the Civil War than the war itself. The acting, of course, couldn't have been better. A few actors from TV were cast. Lewis resembled my image of Lincoln hauntingly well. The movie became something special whenever he was on screen. I eagerly anticipated the ending but found it underwhelming. I think if they had included the viewpoint of the assassin, an established actor lacking for nothing who thought he had to do this as an instrument of God, and the accomplices whose culpability was questionable in one case, we would have had a bit of controversy and more material to chew on. But that's just me. Expand
  14. May 7, 2013
    Steven Spielberg can't go wrong. I've got to say I'm Latina, I already knew Lincolns story but this film is so meaningful and powerful that it made me realize the point of the whole historic event. Daniel Day-Lewis was Brilliant and Tommy Lee Jones was splendid. This movie is one of the Best movies i've seen in a while. Bravo Steven!
  15. Apr 19, 2013
    This movie succeeds where all films should but often don't: it wholly sucks you in to it's world and story with such finesse that you think you are actually there. The film achieves this in several key areas, firstly, the acting is truly fantastic from everyone involved, not enough credit goes to all the more minor roles in the film who truly transport us into their world. Second, it is beautifully shot and very well choreographed, especially considering it is a film in which people talk in rooms for over 2 hours, this is impressive. Third, the script is great, it is gripping, sometimes funny and it really sets the mood of the film as one not to be missed. All in all though, if what you want in a film is action, this film is not for you, if you're looking for drama, intrigue and suspense to entertain, this film is for you. An expertly crafted film from Spielberg that really puts you in the world of the characters, especially impressive considering the world of the film is history. If you like slow moving character films, great. If not, do yourself a favour and look elsewhere. Fantastic, 90/100. Expand
  16. Apr 6, 2013
    History has told us Lincoln is responsible for abolishing slavery, but it's the exasperating hardships and personal sacrifices that forever altered the landscape and direction of this country. Making the amendment battle the cornerstone of the story reveals Lincoln as a simple man, yet equally complex. As the civil war rages on, Lincoln struggles with the carnage on the battlefield, as well as the conflict within his own cabinet pertaining to the Thirteenth Amendment. Spielberg wisely focuses the last three months of Lincoln's life, and his own crisis of conscience between ending the war or slavery. If you're not entirely sure why Lincoln is universally regarded as one of the greatest U.S. presidents going into this movie, you'll have no doubts by the time it's over.

    Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't just play Lincoln--he inhabits him. It's a remarkable performance that won another Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Day-Lewis. With his Oscar winning performance as Lincoln, he became the sixth performer to win more than two Academy Awards, and the first male performer to win three awards for lead roles. Impressive secondary performances abound as well. Sally Field, as Lincoln's unstable wife, delivers a marvelous performance, as does Tommy Lee Jones as the fiery, passionate Thaddeus Stevens. "Lincoln" is an authentic, visual masterpiece--reproducing and portraying the landscape and atmosphere of the 19th century in extraordinary detail. The incredible performances receive most of the notoriety, and rightfully so, but the production values and set design are simply stunning. Jim Erickson (set decorator) and Rick Carter (production designer) both won Oscars for Best Achievement in Production Design.

    One requirement upon seeing "Lincoln" is you must commit yourself to two and a half hours of laborious dialog and monologues, from a litany of characters encompassing a variety of topics. A major challenge Spielberg had to overcome is the wealth of information, history, and knowledge of the period--and fitting it into a structured, disciplined film. Throughout the film, there are an abundance of subtleties that can easily go unnoticed, and the demanding content of the film's script makes this a challenging picture to watch.

    That being said, "Lincoln" belongs to the ages, and is one of the finest historical films ever made. Steven Spielberg's landmark motion picture enriches the American canon freeing the Great Emancipator from his tintype image in our history books, and explores the wit and wisdom that made the man.
  17. Mar 31, 2013
    My favorite movie of 2012. Lincoln is exceptional film making by Steven Spielberg, with brilliant performances by Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones.
  18. Mar 30, 2013
    The best historical movie I've ever seen. It makes you care about our most important president in ways you would never think you would. It's funny, it's interesting, and of course, Daniel-Day Lewis is perfect as Abraham Lincoln.
  19. Mar 24, 2013
    I pity those who find this film mundane or tedious because they were some how expecting a Michael Bay action turd. Lincoln is a well written, expertly directed, and supremely acted masterpiece. This film is about the 13th amendment and the politics/ horse trading that was required to enact one of the greatest pieces of legislation in the history of the world. If this dramatic political drama can not hold ones attention I believe that shows what a sad state our generation is in. This film is a fight for equality, a fight to up hold the fact that indeed "all men are created equal in the eyes of the law". Expand
  20. Mar 15, 2013
    There is no way this movie did not win 'Best Picture' at the Academy awards. Truly fascinating It kept me glued to the screen. Congratulations to everyone involved here to make such a masterpiece. Daniel Day Lewis is truly an exceptional actor.
  21. Mar 11, 2013
    In my opinion the best movie of 2012. Absolutely flawless. Daniel Day Lewis gave the greatest performance I have ever seen. Tommy Lee Jones best role since No Country For Old Men. Those who are saying this movie is too slow clearly doesn't appreciate history. It's as if you're getting a glimpse of Lincoln himself. Perhaps the closest we will ever be to the real man.
  22. Feb 28, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Lincoln

    Una película difícil de ver y de digerir, Lincoln trata temas sumamente interesantes y bien manejados pero con unos diálogos pesados y complicados para el público en general, la narrativa es difícil de seguir y no engancha fácilmente, por los menos la primera media hora causa el sentimiento interno de ignorancia y provoca varios bostezos, pero después de un rato y prestando mucha atención la idea empieza a tomar forma y junto con sus pocas chispas de humor envuelven al espectador hasta su desenlace.

    La película narra el último año del expresidente Abraham Lincoln y su lucha por acabar con la guerra civil junto con la aprobación de la decimotercera enmienda en la cámara de representantes en la que se abolió la esclavitud. Daniel Day-Lewis hace el papel a la perfección, el papel de una Lincoln idealizado por Steven Spielberg, de un héroe de la patria, el papel de un hombre recto que decide que el fin justifica los medios. Lewis el hombre del momento hace gala de todo su garbo actoral convenciéndonos con sus gestos, con su voz, con sus movimientos, encarna totalmente el personaje de una forma impresionante llevándonos a la época y sintiéndonos acongojados por su triste final.

    La dirección de arte, el vestuario, la iluminación, la ambientación y la fotografía fueron magistrales, realmente nos introducen en la historia con detalles que las llevan a la perfección. Cada mapa, cada candelabro, cada pieza perfectamente ubicada, armonizando el entorno y dándole al film la credibilidad que necesitaba.

    Con un reparto demasiado grande hace que en varios escenas nos podamos confundir y que muchas de las actuaciones sean totalmente desaprovechadas como es el caso de Jared Harris o Joseph Gordon-Levitt, caso contrario el de Tommy Lee Jones, quien da vida a Thaddeus Stevens líder radical republicano quien nos brinda una de las mejore escenas de la película en la que tiene que callar sus emociones reales para lograr el objetivo común, objetivo por el que él a luchado insistentemente por motivos personales y secretos. Sally Field también se destaca como la Sra. Lincoln una mujer con problemas de depresión que se tambalea entre su vida personal y cuidar las apariencias en su vida social.

    Steven Spielberg, genio cinematográfico, Maestro del arte, nos enseña su punto de vista de uno de los hombres más amados de los Estados Unidos dejando en claro que sin importar el proyecto que realice siempre tendrá el apoyo de la crítica y de la academia, lo vemos con sus 12 nominaciones a los premios óscar y con el excelente resultado del producto final, una película para ver inteligentemente con paciencia y mente abierta, sin discriminar el género ni el ámbito político.

    Compren el tarro de críspetas grande y tómenlo con calma, no se pueden perder la historia del hombre más digno que cumplió su objetivo de la manera más indigna.
  23. Feb 26, 2013
    Trying to faithfully depict a larger (literally) figure than most can fail spectacularly, just ask Sasha Gervasi, the director of the recent Lincoln starts as the civil war is coming to a close and Abraham Lincoln's (Daniel Day Lewis) window to pass the 14th amendment is quickly closing. Battling a hostile house of representatives as he tries to rally votes he must also cope with a grieving wife, a naive patriotic son and his own personal grief. Lincoln is completely unlike anything you would expect it to be much like the Lincoln displayed in the picture. This Lincoln is old, not due to his age but his responsibilities, he has aged quicker than most because of the events he himself has orchestrated yet he doesn't blame anyone, in fact he sees his choices not as choices at all but as necessities that have unfortunately taken what little was left of a man following the death of his son. However the film shows him as a man with a lot of fight still in him, a fight that is fast approaching. Director Steven Spielberg and writer Tony Kushner are clever to concentrate the film on Lincoln's last battle to emancipate the slaves as not only does it emphasize progress to a modern audience, especially when you consider that Lincoln's counterpart today is African American, but it also shows a man of great conviction, a man who stood out from the pack for all the right reasons and prevailed because people trusted in the man. The choice of Daniel Day Lewis was a perfect one with an early choice of Liam Neeson being in my opinion, way off base. There isn't a moment in the film where you don't believe he is Lincoln, that he isn't this great man. He completely encompasses the character. The film wouldn't be the film it is without the superb supporting cast it has, from a delightfully grumpy Tommy Lee Jones to a emotionally affecting Sally Field as Mary Todd. Even James Spader is a joy as he infuses the film with some much needed comedy instead of dropping his pants as he seems to do in most his movies. The only real weak link is Joseph Gordon Levitt who isn't so much a character but a plot point to be slotted into scenes where needed to serve a theme or a sub plot. It's not that he gives a bad performance, its just that he is ever so irrelevant. Overall its a near perfect Biopic of someone well worth doing a Biopic about. Not just a fine president but a rule breaker and a cheat, a flawed man who achieved greatness by merely expecting better from those around him and treating all he met as equals, a wonderful portrait of a man. Expand
  24. Feb 18, 2013
    Don't let the above plot put you off. Yes, its politics but it's so much more. It's a character study of the highest order. We get to see Lincoln's political machinations, frustrations with public office, as well as his personal strife behind the White House's doors. The narrative never feels dull or anything other than monumentous. I haven't seen any of the films featuring other nominees for Academy Best Actor but I just cannot imagine that any of the performances come close to Daniel Day-Lewis' as Lincoln. Just when you think the guy can't get any better (There Will Be Blood), he steps up to another level. His performance as Lincoln is simply wonderful. Patient, stoic, inspirational, determined, regretful, melancholy, Day-Lewis manages to capture everything.

    To heap all the praise on Day-Lewis would be disrespectful to the rest of the cast. Credit where due, Sally Fields is excellent as the Mary Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones turns in a strong, sombre performance and with the cast on offer I could go on all day.
  25. Feb 13, 2013
    Lincoln simply put is a brilliant film. For a film that is 2 hours and 30 mins of talking and politics it makes a thoroughly engaging and thoroughly interesting story. It is an important story in American history and captures the issue and era magnificently. Daniel Day-Lewis would fully deserve the Oscar for his performance, it was flawless. He is also matched by an equally fantastic cast. Highly recommended. Expand
  26. Feb 11, 2013
    Such a historical time in US history is a hard story to tell on its own, much less the man in charge of the whole mess. I think Speilberg does a great job in creating the mood, distractions, oppositions, co-conspirators and even Lincoln's characters/values become a definition of the film. So many underrated actors play the politicians to perfection-Halbrook (playing Preston), Levitt playing Lincoln's son, Stuhlbarg as many more. But Day-Lewis is the film as Lincoln, and (of all people) Sally Field as Ms. Lincoln.. Of course, 90% of the film is dialog-mostly related to the politics of the time/amendment-sometimes hard to follow. Only reason I didn't give this a "10" as it seems to be a bit too "heroic" when this time was not "heroic" but rather tragic-which is conveyed thru the colors and tone of the film very well. Expand
  27. Feb 2, 2013
    When you leave cinema after seeing this film you will be inspired by it. Yes it's that good. Now you probably want me to explain that. Firstly "Lincoln" was directed by Steven Spielberg. Whit that said you know what to expect, and he's not the only great name among the cast. It features Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt James Spader, and many more. The list is just full of experts. Script is well written, acting is top notch, and every scene fits perfectly. I especially love speeches in this movie. They are well written and define personalities of characters. The thing i loved the most is Lincoln himself. In this film he's shown as a real person with problems and emotions, and they did tat brilliantly. Some people think that "Lincoln" is too slow. And maybe some scenes are dragged out a little, but they should be. Every word and shot in this film matters. It defines characters and it's important for plot. It's a political movie so some people might be bored. You'll need too bi in the mood for watching this film. With all that sad I cant find single objective fault, well i think i saw a bald cap on Tommy Lee Jones in one scene but i'm not even shore. If you like history, drama, politics or fun you will like "Lincoln" Expand
  28. Jan 30, 2013
    Storyline: President Lincoln, played brilliantly by Daniel Day-Lewis struggles to gain enough votes to allow the 13th Amendment to pass. Even knowing the outcome still didn't stop me from holding my breath at the end .

    Acting: First off, Daniel Day-Lewis became Lincoln. It could have been played well by a few others but when DDL puts on the famous hat he actually becomes. Powerful
    stuff. Sally Field was not bad as Mrs Lincoln but for me Tommy Lee Jones was a huge surprise as Thaddeus Stevens with one of his best performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a good job as well playing Lincolns son.

    Direction: Stephen Spielburg at his best telling us an important story in America's history and telling it well. He rarely gets it wrong but when it's right it's amazing.

    Production: $65 million was put to excellent use because actors flock to these projects so more money probably goes on sound stages and props. It shows here as you are taken back to 1865 and honestly you can almost smell the horse dung and death the detail is so good. The highest quality.

    Conclusion: Spielberg in full swing with a brilliantly done Historical Drama that had me glued to the screen. Highly Recommended.

    Score: 9/10
  29. Jan 24, 2013
    On some level I can relate to comments about the slow pace of the movie, especially in the beginning. I agree that the pace was slower than I expected, but it was not too slow. It was perhaps the appropriate pace to gather in the facets that were needed to relate the urgency and polarization of that time. There are plenty of scenes to make the blood race, not because of battles or other action sequences, but because of the opposing views that were being spewed out with such venom. To see a president in the midst of such turmoil, apart from the battlefields of which we have all seen and read plenty of documentaries and dramatizations, was riveting. On this side of the historical time line, we can look back, knowing that the 13th Amendment was passed. Yet this movie was able to take me to a place where I experienced how impossible it seemed then, and to experience the relief, even more than triumph, that the feat was accomplished. The film's deft script and inspired acting showed what a delicate tightrope the President had to walk to make this happen and how very close it came to failing. Then the war would have ended, and the states remain united, but the slavery issue would have remained unresolved.
    That Daniel Day-Lewis took the time needed to wait on the "voice" of Lincoln to grow within him and come forth from him with such an impact of authenticity is one of the things that moved and impressed me the most about LINCOLN. David Strathaim and Sally Field also gave powerful and eloquent performances, as well as several others, but my favorite supporting actor was Tommy Lee Jones. His Thaddeus Stevens lumbered about with a pronounced limp from a childhood bout with polio, providing a much needed counter-point to the congressional members who venomously opposed the passing of the 13th Amendment. Their loud, jeering racial put-downs sound shocking today but are revealed to have been perceived as reasonable and accepted to many in the North at that time. Jones' delivery of Stevens' rejoinders helped to balance out the harshness of the prejudices of that time, giving us some space to laugh with him at their narrow-minded stupidity. At the same time it is sobering to think Stevens" views would have been considered the radical ones to many of that day.
    I highly recommend this film as an opportunity to connect with a moment in history and experience the people and happenings of that time come to life. I have not seen a film that has done this better.
  30. Jan 24, 2013
    This film has the best Lincoln as perfectly portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis. While the performances are trophy-worthy along with production design, the screenplay enjoys the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, this one deserves to join the roll of best history movies. Worth-watching.

Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Jan 11, 2013
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jan 10, 2013
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 1, 2013
    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.