Lincoln – Coming to a Theater Near You
I wish I could remember where I read this, but not long ago, Steven Spielberg made the somewhat presumptuous announcement that he would not release Lincoln until after the 2012 election – so as not to affect the outcome with a political drama set during a very divisive period of our history. Who knows, maybe he was right. Films do have a powerful effect on the public.
At any rate, the election is over and Lincoln is about to hit the theaters. I am personally bracing myself for the onslaught of newly minted Lincoln experts on Twitter and Facebook who will most certainly hold forth on the 16th president based solely on what they see in this movie.
For those of you who might be tempted to walk down this road, I would like to remind you of something else Spielberg said about this film, and about film as history in general. This medium can illustrate only a sliver of of Lincoln’s or anyone’s world. What we will see will be very specific and will not touch on every historical base. I am interested primarily in what Spielberg has chosen to tell us about the man and the issues with which he contended. It will reveal a great deal about historical memory in the 21st century as it reflects on the 19th. And for the record – judging by the previews, Daniel Day-Lewis will do a bang-up job.