MY 9-YEAR-OLD SON has an interest in the U.S. Civil War. Maybe most every boy does, I don’t know. Part of the benefit of homeschooling is we may spend our days on whatever subject strikes interest rather than be tied to any given curriculum. So we’ve spent some time on the Civil War which, by default, means we’ve talked about Abraham Lincoln.
During the movie, my son leaned over more than once to tell me what was happening. If nothing else, that was a blessing.
“Lincoln” focuses primarily on the passage of the 13th Amendment, which seems to have been a tricky undertaking. Some of the fine, processional details were lost on me — likely, then, on my children — but Spielberg presents the process with enough comedic and dramatic flair that even a young one can catch the point(s).
I appreciate the lack of graphic images — though there are some — so often found in movies that involve war. Only three times does “Lincoln” show graphic images, and those are tasteful but realistic. As a mother working to convey that war is awful — not glorious, as it’s often touted to be — I’m glad for the short but realistic shots.
I took the opportunity to lean over myself and say, “See how useless war is? All those fathers and sons dead on a field?”
By far, however, what I enjoyed most about “Lincoln” — and what has cultured the most discussion — is Spielberg’s revelation of the character of the man. If accurate, and by all accounts it is largely so, “Lincoln” reveals a gentle, humble but strong man, a prophet even. A clever lawyer, too, who seemed to know how to stretch, but not break, its rules for good causes.
I can see why people the world over loved him, as I began to do about 15 minutes into the film.
Could be because we sat in the front row, but I felt like I was curled up in an overstuffed chair in the corner of Lincoln’s office with a cup of coffee while he worked. It was a pleasure, then, to watch him.
Overall, I would recommend the movie for children about age 8 or 9 and older, those who don’t always require fast-paced or animated to keep them engaged. And I’d recommend the discussions you can have about slavery, war, honesty, law and human nature.