Monday, January 07, 2013

Saw Spielberg's movie "Lincoln," entertaining, liked it.

I saw Spielberg's movie Lincoln yesterday afternoon with two African American friends neither of whom were particularly interested in history. However, it was my turn to pick the movie and we saw it.

I grew up with movies having historical themes in the 1960s. They were in black and white and had a type of acting where often the actors are made of marble and lived for the ages, but not for morning breakfast. They were often very didactic. Another thing about historical dramas is that often you know the story and how it will turn out. So I am generally not that interested in these type of films. There are exceptions, I didn't know the life of Gandhi much, so seeing the movie Gandhi was interesting.

However, the movie Lincoln has had a big impact and from reading the reviews I realized that it was well done and might be very interesting to see. Also, knowing that the neo-Confederates hated it made it attractive.

First it is an entertaining movie. I enjoyed seeing it. Second it was interesting that it portrayed Radical Republicans in a positive light. Radical Republicans have been denigrated in American history texts for generations and this is a significant change.

It showed the rabid racism of the Democrats at the time which was an eye opener for my two friends accompanying me to see the movie. One of my friends couldn't believe that the Democratic members of the House were really that racist, but thought they pandered to racism as political opportunists. I explained that  that these representatives were sincerely racists. I explained that there were pamphlets at the time, one endorsed by Jefferson Davis, that held Africans were a separate species from white people.

I thought the acting was good. The carnage of the Civil War was shown. The film wasn't didactic. If you haven't seen the movie already I recommend doing so. We all enjoyed seeing the movie.

I think the movie is good because it shows that the abolition of slavery wasn't inevitable and the 13th amendment passed by a slim margin and through strenuous effort and barely was passed. I think now days people think it was inevitable that slavery would be abolished. It wasn't inevitable, things might have turned out differently.

With this movie Lincoln and the movie Django, it shows that the Lost Cause view of history is beginning to fade away from popular historical consciousness.
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