Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 29, 2012

AROUND THE TOWN: Spielberg’s Lincoln is flawless

By Jan Boston Sellers
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — If you are not much of a moviegoer, or if you are but have not planned on seeing the period piece Lincoln, I highly suggest you do so. The movie, which ranked in the top three at the box office over Thanksgiving weekend, is a portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln and his fight to pass Proposition 13 abolishing slavery.

The movie, under the tutelage of Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg, is flawless with every component from the acting to the costumes impeccably detailed and researched. I suspect it will earn a host of Golden Globe and Oscar nominations over the next few weeks.

Daniel Day-Lewis does not play Lincoln. He is Lincoln. His interpretation of the 16th president is so accurate it is uncanny. His posture, his movements and his voice are all contributors to the best imitation of the iconic president I have ever seen. Day-Lewis, you may remember, has already won two Academy Awards for his work in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood. However, he is perhaps more known for his role in The Last of the Mohicans.

A method actor, he is very selective in his roles (he averages only one film every five years) and is often nominated for his performances. He certainly should be for his work in this biopic. Day-Lewis channels Lincoln and his humor, sadness and intellect in such a poignant and hauntingly beautiful manner that I was melancholy even before he entered Ford Theater where he was eventually assassinated.

As good as Day-Lewis is, and I mean he is really good, his supporting cast is also phenomenal. My two favorites: Sally Field (who reportedly packed on 25 pounds and agreed to be filmed sans makeup) plays his grief stricken wife, Mary Todd Lincoln; and Tommy Lee Jones (who was former vice president Al Gore’s roommate at Harvard). Jones is certainly nomination worthy in his role as the radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens. Jones manages to weave caustic, funny and political into an engaging character with a “method to his madness.”

Stevens hailed from Pennsylvania and was also an attorney. He was famous for his use of the insanity plea in murder cases, something groundbreaking in mid-1800s and was the lead in the impeachment proceedings against President Johnson. During his political years, his views ranged from Federalist to Whig to Republican. During Lincoln’s presidency, Stevens served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

A stellar scene in Lincoln is between Field and Jones as she unabashedly dresses him down at a party for his meticulous eye on her First Lady expenditures.

The movie is almost 2.5 hours long, but is so good the minutes quickly tick by. Matter of fact, when we saw it, one gentleman stood up for the entire performance, and as the credits rolled, applause broke out in the theater. Lincoln has been selling out here in Crossville and nationwide. I recommend getting to the theater in plenty of time to purchase your tickets, visit the concession stand and locate your seat.

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The annual Crossville Christmas Parade is accepting entries for its annual trek down Main Street. The parade is scheduled to step off next Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4:30 p.m. with the theme “Christmas Dreams.” The parade is free to enter, but you must contact the Palace Theatre staff to get registered. You may do so by calling 484-6133 or emailing them at palace@crossvilletn.gov.

Speaking of parades, three Cumberland County students marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The three young ladies are Rhianna Mann, Hailey Taylor and Kasie Looschen, all Brown Elementary School cheerleaders. They were chosen over the summer by the All American Cheerleading organization.