Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lincoln the Movie, An Awakening

I recently saw the movie Lincoln. Had to. My curiosity won. It was up for many academy awards and won best actor.

I am not a documentary viewer. I find reporter style storylines excessively boring. They contain restricted details which are overly hashed and repeated, interviews from weeping people, and hype from the reporter. No, this format may have been enjoyable once or twice for me, but I have become cold to them.

On the other hand I find a true-to-life portrayal much different. Like the documentary, it focuses on a restricted segment, but unlike the documentary, all aspects of the portrayal are given as they are. The event is played out as the people experienced it, not reported (told). Portions may be boring, powerful, thoughtful. Spellbinding. Intuitive. And because the event is shown as it was, we walk with the person.

I walked into the theater remembering the night I stood in line for the movie Titantic. Two women ahead of me chatted and laughed with each other while waiting to get into the theatre. The one then said, "I know the ending." Amazingly enough the entire line of people in front and behind them grew silent. I don't know why. We all knew the ending of the movie. But for some crazy reason we all were enticed to listen to what she would say next. Seconds later she said, "They all die." 

Now don't take that as disrespectful. What she meant was, we are all standing here in this long line after paying a lot of money to watch a very long movie when we already know the ending. Aren't we crazy.

But as we walked out of the theater, no one from the crowd spoke, so moved were we in the well produced reminder, perhaps revealer of what it felt like to be on the Titanic. We walked on the deck with Jack and laughed. Ate in the luxurious dining room, danced with the lower class, and saw the fear of the captain when he realized his choice cost many lives.

And so I walked into the theater of Lincoln with my husband who loves history thinking the movie would be boring. A rehashing of events. Money spent for several hours to view a movie I already knew the answers.

Like Jack in Titanic, I became captivated by the character Lincoln. The difficult choices Lincoln had to make. The hardship he too suffered from the deaths caused by his decisions, knowing the necessity of those decisions to unify the country and to free the slaves. How as the days progressed in the movie and I knew what would come, I found myself saying, as I did during the Titantic movie, "No. Please don't let him die." I grew to know the person Lincoln in that short time. My words here could in no wise reflect the power of this movie.

There have been many movies and books written about famous people and events, but few are so powerful. Leave an impact in the person's memory days later. Take the reader/movie goer to the situation, lead them along the streets of the time, let them eat the food, smell the air, laugh at the jokes of the day, and hurt inside. Few truly open our minds to understand what if felt to walk in the shoes of the person in the movie.

Well, I now see why Jean Dujardin won best actor for his work in Lincoln. Spielberg, too deserved an award for his direction.

I have another movie in mind. One that drew long lines, and absolute silence when the theater emptied. The portrayal of this man's life impacted more than the one Jack influenced in Titanic, more than the thousands, perhaps millions, LIncoln impacted, this man has and continues to impact a world because he is more than a man. The movie, The Passion of the Christ.

Reader, what character based on a real or unreal person has stirred your heart. Or what event has been so vividly portrayed in a movie or book as to take you to the very streets?

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