Rumored for nearly a decade, Steven Spielberg's long-awaited Abraham Lincoln biopic, simply titled Lincoln and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, finally debuted in a limited number of theaters nationwide yesterday (the film's screen count will expand next Friday). So what's the verdict? Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming number of critics adore Lincoln, citing Day-Lewis' towering performance as Honest Abe, the intimate script from accomplished playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner, and the film's narrowed focus on Lincoln's efforts in getting the slavery-ending Thirteenth Amendment passed as laudable components.
Our opinion? While Day-Lewis is indeed brilliant as the 16th President of the United States (and looks stunningly like his subject), and Spielberg's directorial flourishes (namely his handling of the staggeringly large ensemble cast's performances) are top-notch, Lincoln suffers from a meandering narrative that falls apart near its end. When it's strictly centered on the amendment chase, Lincoln excels, but sidesteps toward his strained relationship with son Robert Todd (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his assassination, and far less interesting characters hinder what could've been an outstanding cinematic achievement. But, hey, that's just one take—don't be surprised if Lincoln is all over next February's telecast of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony.
With those qualms in mind, we've taken a look back at how much worse Lincoln could have been and ranked The 10 Worst Biopic Movies of All Time. Compared to these biographical turkeys, Spielberg's film is on Malcolm X's level.
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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)