Maybe it was too much “hype”, my expectations were set too high.

I can understand why some people might be moved by the film, but I think that stems from patriotism, from a love of America, rather than a love of cinema.

I found the film dragged on slowly at times, the dialogues were overly long and theatrical. Those long dialogues with elaborate language are the makings of a good book, but not of a good movie.

Daniel Day Lewis was a very good Lincoln, yes. Yet, I would not choose his performance over that of Denzel Washington in “Flight”. Lewis seemed like a good actor making a very good “impression” of Abraham Lincoln; but a bit too much like an impression and not enough like portraying a real man.

I also found Spielberg’s directing a bit less stellar than other works he has done. I would not rank this among Spielberg’s “top five” works. Comparing it to another Spielberg film on slavery, I would prefer “Amistad” instead.

There were too many clich├ęs, the whole film had an air of “fake”, rather than “real”. The initial battle scenes were so “fake” that in the session I was sitting in, laughter erupted in the audience as the same black character was shown repeatedly punching a confederate soldier in the face, in two different angles, as if they were in a high school play…

From seeing the film, one would be led to believe that half the Union Army consisted of black soldiers… while history tells us that in those days only a few were even allowed to enlist, and only in a couple of “coloured only” units. This was “artistic license” carried too far.

The whole sequence on the voting of the 13th Amendment was a bit insulting to my intelligence. Several characters were tallying how many votes were still necessary for the proposal to pass: 11, then only 8, then 6… and after that there was a quick sequence of votes, during which I counted six “ayes”. So the math was done! Yet Spielberg continued to build suspense, when there was no more… When the Leader of the House expresses his desire to also vote, the audience is led to believe that his vote will decide the outcome, when it was already decided. And by then, even the characters in the film new the final count, as they were adding votes on their notes… He votes “aye” and still, it is as if the outcome was not known, but it meant they were at least two votes ahead of the required minimum! Yet, everyone sits in absolute silence, no celebrations, no expression of muted joy, as if only when the official announcement is made, will we know if the proposal has passed! And as the announcement is made, the difference is TWO votes more than the minimum needed, so indeed it was already known to all present.

Spielberg could have done better: he could have shown more clearly that, if the House Leader would have voted “nay”, the proposal would not have passed; but he didn’t do that, turning it into a missed opportunity.

“Lincoln” is not a bad film, mind you. There are some fine moments here and there, and I thought it was courageous from the producers to show all the dirty politics going on, including those dirty deeds carried out by Lincoln himself. THAT was realistic, rather than profiling him as an almost holy figure.

And it was amusing, almost surreal, to see Republicans fighting against slavery and Democrats defending it… What happened to those ideals a hundred years later? It seems that both parties have been involved more with economic power struggles than any ideology, from the very beginning.

“Lincoln” is well worth watching. But it’s no surprise to see that “best film” awards have been given to other contestants in other competitions before the “Oscars”. It’s just not quite as good as it could have been.