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Will Lincoln be a best picture frontrunner or high-profile letdown for the cast and crew? On Monday, the highly anticipated Steven Spielberg biopic of Abraham Lincoln‘s presidency during the Civil War premiered in a secret screening at the New York Film Festival.
PHOTOS: Steven Spielberg on Set
The DreamWorks and Fox film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his son, Sally Field as his wife and Tommy Lee Jones as Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens.
The movie has been teased in multiple trailers that emphasize the monumental decisions made by the president to preserve the union. An extended trailer for Lincoln placed the president among the company of Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela as a uniter.
As for the first look at the movie, The Hollywood Reporter‘s awards analyst, Scott Feinberg, writes that the film “appears to be Oscar-bait incarnate.”
“Although the film runs two hours and 25 minutes, every scene felt tight and necessary, undoubtedly in large part because Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner penned its script, drawing from a small section of Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s rigorously researched historical study Team of Rivals,” Feinberg adds.
Of Day-Lewis, Feinberg writes that the actor’s performance is “every bit as great as Henry Fonda‘s iconic portrayal in Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and in many ways better.”
VIDEO: Extended ‘Lincoln’ TV Spot Airs After Presidential Debate
Here’s what others who’ve seen the premiere at the New York Film Festival are saying on Twitter:
Steven Zeitchik, film writer at the L.A. Times (and previously with The Hollywood Reporter):
Lincoln is wonky, lyrical and compelling.
Bilge Ebiri, film critic at New York Magazine and Vulture:
Spielberg’s LINCOLN is the best film Roberto Rossellini never made. Also one of the best Spielberg did make.
Logan Hill, senior editor at GQ:
Spielberg’s Lincoln at #NYFF was rock solid monument to Abe, a bounce back from War Horse. Predix: Oscar noms galore. Tommy Lee Jones FTW
Matt Patches, movies editor at Hollywood.com:
Lincoln is heavy on the politics. But I loved all the behind-the-curtain government stuff. Kushner’s playwright roots all over it. Tommy Lee Jones is pretty great in Lincoln. Amazing that the ensemble can stand out against Day-Lewis.
PHOTOS: Actors Who’ve Played Politicians
Eric Kohn, film journalist and critic at Indiewire:
Colleague asked me to characterize the LINCOLN reaction @thenyff. Better than it was for the trailer. It’s what it is, but decently so. There are enough bearded men yelling at each other in LINCOLN to make AMISTAD look like a John Woo film.
I have just seen the MOST extraordinary 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 Been seen in many years on screen. You must if you believe in the greatness of America and in all America has to offer we the people. You will want to see this. Republican, Democrats Independents ALL WILL BE PROUD.You have never seen the likes of this film and may not again
David Ehrlich, film writer for Movies.com and Box Office Magazine:
LINCOLN (C). Abraham Lincoln: Vote Hunter. best movie ever made for A&E? Spielberg restrained. Musty, redundant, bearded. ddl & tlj = great. LINCOLN is Spielberg’s smallest film since ALWAYS. best when portraying a man isolated by incalculable burden. script divided against itself. Film is WAY too dull & prosaic to win big prize. Trio of dynamite perfs, but film has no prayer for Oscar unless all else fails
Lou Lumenick, chief film critic at the New York Post:
Daniel Day Lewis is excellent in Spielberg’s LINCOLN, but Tommy Lee Jones steals the picture
PHOTOS: Fall Movie Preview 2012: Major New Releases From Spielberg, Jackson, Tarantino, the Wachowskis, Burton and More
Clayton Davis, editor of the Awards Circuit:
LINCOLN soars and Spielbergs best in years. Tommy Lee Jones, James spader standouts. Sally field is ?#Oscar worthy too. Spielberg in definite contention for Oscar number three. ?[Day-Lewis is] very good. Reserved. Strong presence. Nominatable not winnable. Smartly written, politically emotional. Very well directed. I can definitely see some people not liking it because its politically charged and surprisingly funny.
Devin Fuller, film blogger:
Lincoln is perhaps one of Spielberg’s more understated films (some will probably call it boring). I liked Lincoln more than I thought I would. So take that as a recommendation.
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