25 January 2013 2:20 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Steven Spielberg has crafted a literate, heartfelt film about Abraham Lincoln's second term in office and his battle to end slavery, with a masterful central performance

Abraham Lincoln's second term, with its momentous choices, has been brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg as a fascinatingly theatrical contest of rhetoric and strategy. It is a nest of high politics for the white ruling class, far from the brutality and chaos of the battlefield. At its centre is a gaunt Shakespearian figure, somewhere between Caesar and Prospero.

Spielberg has made a moving and honourably high-minded film about this world-changing moment of American history, his best for many years: I can't imagine anyone not wanting to see it, and to experience the pleasures of something acted with such intelligence and depth. There is admittedly sometimes a hint of hokum; how you react to the film may depend on how you take the opening sequence in which Lincoln, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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