Ty Burr: 6. “Lincoln”
What I love most about this movie is its busyness: The congressmen and Cabinet members and telegraph operators and mountebanks (James Spader especially) all milling through 1865 Washington barely grasping the stakes of the amendment on which they’re voting, arguing points petty and profound, sharpening their invective (Tommy Lee Jones especially), and at their center, the maypole around which they weave, the only man tall enough to see what’s necessary to the country’s soul. Tony Kushner’s brilliant script is full of characters talking because that is what you do in a government by, of, and for the people; this is discourse, reasoned and pompous, coercive and persuasive, for the purpose of building something larger together. Steven Spielberg wants to sanctify Lincoln, but there are enough others here more interested in what this monumental myth might possibly have been like as a human being. Daniel Day-Lewis especially.