I had the recent pleasure to watch the movie, Lincoln twice. It was great both times. The acting by Daniel Day-Lewis as the president and Sally Field as the first lady was wonderful. They were truly transformed into their characters. Tommy Lee Jones also did an amazing job as a congressman fighting against slavery. His dialogues were witty, cutting and quite meaningful. My favorite part of the movie was the dialogue, mainly the stories told by President Lincoln. These were the things we never learned when studying history in school but the part that gave you a real feel for the man, the great President. You really got a sense of the difficult presidency through the civil war and a time of change and the man who had the strength to lead through it all. You also got insight into his personal life and his struggles as a father and a husband.
Since its release, I’ve had a few friends ask me if it would be appropriate to take their kids to watch it. Lincoln has a PG-13 rating which can mean a lot of different things these days. A lot of it is at the discretion of the parents and what their children are comfortable with but it is hard to know based on just a trailer. Well, I can understand parents thinking this would be a good history lesson for their kids and wanting to take them. However, for most kids under 13, I had to advise against it. My own boys, ages 8 and 9, have seen many PG-13 movies, including most of the superhero flicks and the Transformers series. However, this is a different kind of PG-13. This rating is based on a small amount of foul language, a few gory war scenes, mutilated bodies, and mainly the mature dialogue. I mean mature in the sense that kids may not understand it. The language is spoken in an older style and the discussions are deep. The main thing, even for those who feel their kids are mature for their age, is that most kids would be bored. This is not a movie about Lincoln’s whole life. It is a story of a political vote in the House of Representatives and the politics that surround it.
I would definitely recommend all adults to watch it and those high school kids that are very interested in politics. Younger kids should wait until they can appreciate it. I really enjoyed it even more since we just went through a presidential election and now are constantly hearing about the fiscal cliff and the votes needed to pass the tax bill. Watching the way votes were won for a cause at that time made me think about what kind of scrambling is going on in Washington right now. This movie will definitely be a big Oscar contender. So far, Lincoln and Argo are my favorites but let’s see what the holidays bring.