Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Struggling Through Lincoln

   Is what I am doing right now. Since the only cinema for miles around tends to be full of texting teenagers and shows the sort of stuff comprehensible only to them, I catch up with films six months late on dvds, (or a little sooner on transatlantic flights, that is if it's not Air Canada and the system's actually working).
  Now I am hugely interested in American history and it takes a lot to bore me where that's concerned. But I'm sorry to say that Lincoln is succeeding admirably.  I'm making myself get through half-an-hour at a time as a sort of penance. Hubby, who is a serious history buff, gave up from the start, saying he had better things to do. Apart from the usual melodramatic, heartstring-twisting Spielberg beginning, it's been so far nothing but a bunch of politicians sitting in a dark room arguing with each other, with occasional hysterical interjections by Lincoln's shrewish and unpleasantly dotty wife. By contrast, those old Hollywood biopics were wildly inaccurate but at least they knew how to tell a story.
   And a couple of years ago, there was a quite superlative TV drama series called John Adams  about the second President, which was serious history, beautifully acted - and beautifully enjoyable. It was as good, even better, than some of the best British dramas, which is saying a lot coming from me.  Lincoln, while trying for the same, slow-moving, detailed style, is not a patch on John Adams.
  OK, Daniel Day-Lewis is pretty convincing. But that's not enough. And incidentally I thought the chap in Silver Linings Playbook had a tougher role to play and should have won the Oscar. And SLP should have won Best Pic. I thought it wouldn't be my sort of film at all but it was complex, many-layered and unexpectedly terrific. The winner and its rival, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were travesties of recent history. In my view. But that's another story.

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