A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The McReview of Lincoln (with a little rant on the side)

Source: Touchstone Pictures

Saw Lincoln last night. Wow.

There were so many places it was dead on that I can't completely list it.

After having the chance to explore Civil War Washington last summer, I think they got all of that right. Would have loved more about the Southern leaning Georgetown but that is probably just me.

After having read The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, it felt like they got the social structure of the era right.

One of my favorites details was Peterson's Boarding House...the size of the room, the bed itself, even the blanket is exactly right. Even having Lincoln too tall for the bed was correct.

One of my favorite moments was the meeting between Mary Todd Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens at the party. It was a joy to watch--well written and as perfect a moment as I could have hoped for between Fields and Jones.

Performances were brilliant. Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones. Pitch perfect.

James Mitchel Ashley (Source: Dickinson College)

David Constabile as Ashley (Source: Touchstone Pictures)
The character I have become fascinated by is James Mitchell Ashley, played by David Constabile. Ashley is the representative who is custodian of the 13th Ammendment in the House of Representatives. He is a really intriguing man who escorted John Brown's wife to his execution and presents the bill of impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Consabile holds his own with Day-Lewis and Jones. There is a cool progression of his character from kind of second tier politician to a force in his own right. I loved the scene where he confronts Lincoln on what Ashley believes to have a deception at his and the 13th Ammendment's expense.

The rant:

I wish they hadn't placed the last moment we get of Tommy Lones where it was. I know it was put there by Spielberg for dramatic effect, but it changes our perception of Thaddeus Steven's motives. I also see conflicting evidence whether it is historically accurate or not. The complexities of other relationships had to be winnowed down, and, I don't think we lose anything by cutting that scene. If the decision is to keep it in...I wish it had been moved earlier. This moment tells us something about Thaddeus Stevens, but it shouldn't be the defining moment. By putting this moment at then end, the last moments became about wrestling with his real motivations. The moment should end on the House floor.

Should Mr. Spielberg need a consult...I am available.

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