In which Mr. Spielberg walks through the valley of politics, acknowledging what a cynical, ironic, underhanded game it is, while still emerging with his optimism and faith intact. This means that while it has all the virtues/drawbacks you'd expect from a Spielberg historical piece, it also leaves you with much more to think about than its detractors would have you believe. His best in years.
Austere and restrained, a surprisingly "for adults" movie. The ending sucks, but I think that's because while this is a movie really about Lincoln's relationship with the 13th amendment, there had to be some pretension about it being about the man himself. This is a Lincoln horrified by the Civil War, matured by it and driven to grey hair and martyrdom.
If you can forgive the cloying shot of Lincoln's servant gazing upon the Great Man with worshipful gratitude as he leaves the White House for the final time -- and I think you should; such moments are mercifully few -- you may find in Lincoln the best, the most thorough, and the most gripping movie yet made about legislative politics in America, and how the process, for all its awfulness, sometimes delivers progress.
Even more than in Spielberg's other work, the clash between the mundane and the mythological takes centre stage here. Day-Lewis grounds Lincoln as a quiet, determined, but deeply sad man. Lincoln the legend only ever appears through oratory or through Spielberg's purposeful reflection or framing, and always following a simple human moment. Lincoln is about family and politicking, but as art in cannot contain history.