Most movies I review on this blog are tremendously nerdy. I normally write about super heroes and robots, not presidents and Constitutional amendments. Even though Lincoln isn’t as nerdy as The Dark Knight Rises or The Hobbit, there is a lot of nerdiness with the Civil War. I don’t know of any group nerdier than Civil War reenactors. It takes a lot of commitment to dress up as a Confederate soldier and pretend to defend slavery.
Lincoln wasn’t that nerdy but it was a great movie. But, for those Civil War nerds out there, here are some thoughts from Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln knew the hills upon which he would die. Lincoln tells the story of our 16th President’s desire to get the 13th Amendment passed by Congress. Lincoln was opposed to slavery and it was definitely a hill he would die on. He was willing to use all of his good will and popularity to push through an amendment that could have led to the end of his political career. We need to know the hills for which we’re willing to die. There aren’t a lot of those hills in my life; I’m generally pretty easygoing. However, the divinity of Christ and the importance of gathering together as the church are pretty big hills I’m willing to fight for. We need to know our hills so that we know what to fight for but, more importantly, what fights from which to run away.
Daniel Day-Lewis does a staggeringly impressive job with his portrayal of Lincoln. Day-Lewis plays Lincoln as a likable and warm man, inviting to others and always willing to listen. In the movie Lincoln’s wife describes her husband as a man thoroughly loved by the people. In the movie Lincoln was a genuinely nice guy. People liked Lincoln so they were willing to follow him wherever he went. As Christians we could have a lot more influence on those around us if we were just a little nicer. Most people outside the church view Christians as judgmental and mean. If we can change that view by smiling a little more and listening a little more closely, then we should make the effort. Nice guys don’t have to finish last.
We celebrate Lincoln today because of what he did for our country. He led us through the Civil War and helped maintain our union. He also drafted the Emancipation Proclamation and did everything he could to ensure that the 13th Amendment passed, forever banning slavery in the United States. Lincoln made an impact and, because of it, every schoolchild knows who he is and what he did. Most of us probably won’t be President and none of us will lead the United States through another Civil War. However, for those we impact, we can leave a legacy as powerful as Lincoln’s. Legacy isn’t as much about breadth as it is depth. Our impact may not be as wide as Lincoln’s, but it can certainly be as deep.
Lincoln was a great movie. Daniel Day-Lewis gives an awe-inspiring performance and Steven Spielberg once again proves he is a master of his craft. It may not have been as exciting as The Avengers but its story had a lot more depth and its subject a lot more influence. Hopefully we can strive to be people of influence, just like Honest Abe.
What did you think about Lincoln?