The idea of reviewing movie trailers I find somewhat humorous, but I think that Grace Randolph in the above video does a good job of attempting such a review in regard to the Lincoln movie by Spielberg being released in November. In an earlier post last week, which may be read here, I took issue with Spielberg’s historical ignorance and/or political bias regarding how, in his view, the Democrat and Republican parties have switched positions. This will not deter me from attending the film, as I attempt not to allow the politics of those involved with a film to influence my opinion of the film. Having said that, like Ms. Randolph I have concerns as to whether Daniel Day-Lewis will create the suspension of disbelief to allow us to view him as Lincoln in the film.
My main concern is caused by a scene showing an emotional Lincoln pointing his finger at cabinet members. Lincoln was a skilled attorney and a veteran politician. In public he normally kept his emotions well in hand. Additionally he would have realized that his cabinet members were also skilled politicians, and such a display of emotion most of them would have regarded as either ridiculous or a sign of weakness. The best film bio I can think of is that of George C. Scott in Patton. The gravelly voiced Scott did not sound much like the high-pitched voiced Patton, and the physical resemblance was slight. However, Scott perfectly captured the flamboyant outsized personae of Patton. He did it so well, that when people today see the real Patton on film they are shocked that he does not sound and look like Scott!
If an actor acts like the historical personage he is portraying he can overcome differences in voice and appearance. If he cannot accomplish this, all the voice training, makeup and accurate period costumes are for naught.