Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught Illinois lawyer and legislator with a reputation as an eloquent opponent of slavery, shocked many when he overcame several more prominent contenders to win ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Harold Holzer
Andrew Solomon ...
Ph.D. Columbia Professor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacob Cowley ...
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Schuler Colfax - Speaker of the House
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Governor Richard Oglesby
Trina Lloyd ...
Nancy Bushrod
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Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught Illinois lawyer and legislator with a reputation as an eloquent opponent of slavery, shocked many when he overcame several more prominent contenders to win the Republican Party's nomination for president in 1860. His election that November pushed several Southern states to secede by the time of his inauguration in March 1861, and the Civil War began barely a month later. Contrary to expectations, Lincoln proved to be a shrewd military strategist and a savvy leader during what became the costliest conflict ever fought on American soil. His Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863, freed all slaves in the rebellious states and paved the way for slavery's eventual abolition, while his Gettysburg Address later that year stands as one of the most famous and influential pieces of oratory in American history. In April 1865, with the Union on the brink of victory, Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by the Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth; his untimely... Written by SoonerArrow

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A contemporary exploration of a president whose greatest war took place within himself


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Not Rated
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2005 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Interesting, but could be better
16 February 2017 | by (California) – See all my reviews

There are so many good films and documentaries about Lincoln one has to wonder what would you produce another one? For producer-director Vikran Jayanti the reason appears to give us more insight into Lincoln's internal life and to provide some more details about his early life. You probably know Jayanti from his well-regarded "Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine" (2003).

The documentary (aka "movie") is 2+ hours long and it covers a good portion of Lincoln's life, from his earliest years with his father through the romances, adventures, and jobs he held. A lot of the material comes from Lincoln's correspondence and there are many photos I haven't here-to-fore seen. Jayanti often visits the geographic areas and tries to reconstruct what life must have looked like at the time. He's pretty successful.

The talking heads talk about Lincoln's suicidal ideation, his tendency toward depression, his heterosexual behavior, etc. It's fairly interesting and rarely touched upon by others, although, quite frankly, most of the comments are from B or C team "experts" and about the only A team player is Gore Vidal.

For a film that spends a lot of time talking about Lincoln's inner life and his psychological functioning, there are no Psychologists or Psychiatrists among the talking heads, which is clearly a limitation. The film also moves in and out, from 1855 to 1830 to 1840 to whenever, with no seeming rhyme or reason. That's a little distracting and the film clearly needs better editing.

All things considered the film is an excellent first draft of a film that might be extremely valuable with a few more authoritative talking heads and some better editing.


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