First, the positive. Daniel Day-Lewis was phenomenal in this film. I never once saw DDL. This was Abraham Lincoln surrounded by more modern-day actors in a film. If he wins the Lead Actor Oscar (and I believe he will), he deserves it. Hands down best performance of the year. And the other acting was pretty top notch, too. Tommy Lee Jones was awfully entertaining in the film, though he was honestly only playing Tommy Lee Jones. Still, it was a solid performance. Sally Field does incredibly well here, as well. And while Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a solid job, I felt his role was rather unimportant to the overall film. It added almost nothing except maybe one scene of drama between Lincoln and Mary Todd. He's barely in the movie as it is, and his whole fight to be a soldier pretty much amounts to nothing.
Unfortunately, the film is a bit overlong and quite slow in parts. If one of two things was happening the film was golden. First, if at any time Lincoln was telling a story (which he does quite often), I was totally entranced. He was totally captivating to listen to, and his stories were very entertaining and often humorous. Second, if Tommy Lee Jones was on screen (and usually yelling at or insulting somebody). If either of those things were happening, I was really digging the film. However, there are plenty of times when neither of these things are happening. And it felt like by the time we were maybe an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, and I realized I still had over an hour left, I was dying. The story moved so slowly, particularly within that first half of the film.
Moving into some spoiler(?) territory, I was incredibly disappointed with the ending. I held out for two and a half hours just to see how the whole assassination and John Wilkes Booth thing was done. And what happens? A freakin' fake-out and you only end up hearing about it happening. How do you do a Lincoln biopic and not even show the shooting? And even worse than that, they pretend like they're going to show you but then you realize what they just did.
Besides that, though, this is almost assuredly going to win a ton of awards. Does it deserve them? Some of them, sure. Daniel Day-Lewis deserves an Oscar for this performance. And maybe another one here or there. But I don't think it deserves the sweep that is most likely going to happen. It's an incredibly well-made film. A brilliantly acted film. A superbly written film in its dialogue. It's just not my type of film. It was entertaining in parts, but too long and slow for my liking. And it was far more a film about passing the 13th Amendment than it was about Lincoln himself (there were entire chunks of the film without Lincoln in them). So for a score that looks at my entertainment over its own quality...
I Am McLovin!