I wasn't able to attend last night's "secret" -- we're stretching the definition-- Lincoln debut at the NYFF due to prior commitments but as I lined up for Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa premiere at 9 it was clear that we would not be filing in anytime soon. Lincoln was running well over. It had supposedly begun at 6:15 and we were informed we wouldn't see our movie until 10:00 pm. For a few biophobic moments I wondered if Lincoln could really be 3 ½ hours long; much much longer than the Gettysburg address! I can't confirm a running time but I imagine the stars bowing and blurbing "I loved working with ____" sucked up some of the 3 hours and 45 minutes that Lincoln filled the cavernous Alice Tully Hall.
As the Lincoln crowd exited, one woman who joined the Ginger & Rosa line was asked how it was.... After a long pause she unenthusiastically announced that the acting was great. And then...
It was obviously written by a playwright. A LOT of words."
Damn you, Tony Kushner. Hee!
The playwright behind Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes, Only Those Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy, and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures has probably heard this particular complaint before but I imagine he feels a bit like Amadeus did when he heard "too many notes." (Remember that?)
Several moviegoers on twitter were more ecstatic though the film predictably already has its detractors too. Herewith a collection of notable tweets flung into the internet void immediately thereafter.
- @WhoopiGoldberg I have just seen the MOST exteoadenary film directed by Stephen Speilberg & it's called Lincoln. w/ Daniel Day Lewis who will make u forget Anyother actor you've ever seen do Lincoln. It's beyond AMAZing. Tommy Lee Jones is flawless. This is a film the likes of which hasn't Done 4 the night, Sally Field,S Epatha Merkason among the great actors in Lincoln.so glad I got 2 see it History w/out agenda.Gnite y'all
- @DavidErlich LINCOLN (C). Abraham Lincoln: Vote Hunter. best movie ever made for A&E? Spielberg restrained. Musty, redundant, bearded. ddl & tlj = great
- @amuredda Hard not to take LINCOLN notices with grain of salt when you've just rewatched WAR HORSE, WotW, & CRYSTAL SKULL. But cautiously optimistic.
- @DSWalber Lincoln proves that, in spite of our best efforts, American apotheosis doesn't quite work. How can we make gods if we don't even have kings? As for the film, Lincoln is effective mostly due to stellar performances from DDL and TLJ. Everything else is solidly rote.
- @LouLumenick Daniel Day Lewis is excellent in Spielberg's LINCOLN, but Tommy Lee Jones steals the picture
- @ChrisJRosen Lots to like in Lincoln, lots to cut (all of JoGo?), but it's mostly very good. DDL and Sally Field should practice their speeches
- @BilgeEbiri Spielberg's LINCOLN is the best film Roberto Rossellini never made. Also one of the best Spielberg did make.
- @kateyrich Lincoln's got the best ensemble of bearded character actors ever. The quality of the movie varies wildly based on how many are on screen. Best parts of LINCOLN are the 19th century In The Loop you never knew you wanted. The rest can feel like a bear. Also met @joereid long enough to form Oscar nerd hive mind opinion that Tommy Lee Jones can easily win Supporting Actor. He steals Lincoln... It's got War Horse level strength-- appealing, but not quite there for the win
So how much do we know now about it's Oscar chances?
Reactions during the heat of festivals like this when all the in person star wattage at premieres and Q&A can be, shall we say, blinding. But if you parse the raves you get a clearer picture. Remember when Life of Pi debuted last week and people went nuts for about two minutes proclaiming it the frontrunner it never was? But reactions to Lincoln were mostly ravish... which means that when the heat of the moment dissipates we'll have a real contender if not a frontrunner. Early suspicions that David Strathairn would be the Supporting MVP did not come to pass since all anyone could talk about was Tommy Lee Jones. I've therefore flipped them on their Oscar chart.
Day-Lewis's performance is faultless and surprisingly restrained, but he spends far too much of the film acting opposite Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln (giving a performance badly out of step with the film's low-key tone)
And, because they're both my podcast mates I have to include Joe Reid's LOL take on Sally Field's potential third Oscar grab.
Uneven enough for a nom (maybe) but she doesn't go Full Zellweger enough to win.
"The Full Zellweger". I love it! I'm in the midst of updating all the Oscar charts so we'll tinker a bit to reflect Lincoln's upswing. How are you feeling about the impending race -- and I'm not talking about the upcoming Presidental Election. I can't! -- the night after Lincoln's big debut?
P.S. Oh, yes... uh Ginger and Rosa! While its premiere night was overshadowed by Presidential Spielberg, I enjoyed it. The cast is full of faces I love: Jodhi May, Allesandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening. And Elle Fanning is really something as "Ginger". More later on that one.
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