The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Entertainment

December 8, 2012

Jim Bailey: Now Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' belongs to the ages

Once again the Mounds Mall 10 cinemas opted not to bring a movie of substance to Anderson, so we had to travel down Interstate 69 to see “Lincoln.”

The trip was well worth it to see Steven Spielberg’s recounting of the historicity of the 16th president, likely the most capable and astute man ever to hold the office.

The historical drama is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” It covers the period of the Civil War winding down and the political drama that accompanied the passing of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery in the United States and its territories.

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Lincoln, casting so realistic a figure as to give the feeling you are watching the 16th president himself. Sally Field played first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. But it was Tommy Lee Jones, playing House Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens, who brought life to the drama surrounding the selling of the 13th Amendment to a divided House in which opposition Democrats held the key to the necessary two-thirds majority for passage.

The story tells in dramatic fashion the manner in which wheeling and dealing, compromise and political pressure all came together for passage of the amendment while the war waned. Likely if the South had surrendered before the vote, a two-thirds majority in its favor could not have been mustered. But once it passed, Lincoln made it clear in a meeting with Confederate leaders that the former slave states would not be able to muster enough opposition to keep three-fourths of the states from ratifying it.

History has told us that Lincoln’s marriage, coming after the untimely death of his initial sweetheart Ann Rutledge, was not a happy one. The movie reflected the stress between the Lincolns, much of it over the lingering heartbreak of losing their son Willie at an early age. The resolution of eldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to join the war effort after dropping out of Harvard Law School was difficult as well for the Lincolns.

Differences in communication at the time from the instant news we have now were evident in the way runners from the Capitol carried developments in the House to Lincoln in the White House and back. Just as dramatic were the political pressures applied from all directions during the debate on the amendment.

After its passage we see Stevens “borrow” the official copy of the amendment for the eyes of his biracial housekeeper, Lydia Smith (S. Epatha Merkerson), whose relationship with the bachelor congressman we subsequently learn was more than a housekeeper.

Through it all I found the film an intellectual feast minus some of the emotional involvement I expected. That is, until Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s (Bruce McGill) famous line on the death of Lincoln, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • FEA HB0801 Heart_328 Tickets going fast for Heart Anyone wanting to rock out to Heart Friday night who hasn’t reserved tickets may be out of luck. Only a handful of tickets are still available for the band’s concert at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Live music: Aug. 1 Live entertainment at local venues as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 31, 2014

  • Band Day schedule Four high school bands from Madison County will compete in the Music Travel Consultants Band Day set for Aug. 2 at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair.

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS - HB0730 - frankton band day - 2 Frankton embraces challenges, advantages to starting Band Day James Handshoe is trying to clear away all the distractions.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • FEA HB0730 Gordon Brooks Berky strives to unite community through the arts His theater was originally going to be a place where he could perform when he’s not on tour, but then actor and mask maker Doug Berky had a bigger idea: Unite the community through entertainment.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0730 - NeverTooLate Portwood tells story of struggles in 'Never Too Late' Former TV personality Amber Portwood, who spent 17 months in prison, unveiled the cover of her forthcoming book, "Never Too Late," this week. The publication date is Aug. 26.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • 'Pawn Stars' TV star plans stores near famous shop

    The long parade of tourists who regularly stop by the downtown Las Vegas shop featured on the History Channel reality show "Pawn Stars" could soon have something better to do while waiting in line.

    July 29, 2014

  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo