A feast for facial hair fetishists
I tried to come up with a dignified way to begin this post about Lincoln.
It could be something about the historical importance of one man, something about courage, leadership, power and the responsibility that comes with it.
Another option would be to hail Daniel Day-Lewis for his arguably convincing performance as the famous president.
Or perhaps I could have reflected on some of the big changes that society has gone through over the last decenniums: the abolishment of slavery, women’s rights and more recently the acceptance of gay and lesbians. What are the mechanics? How important are the individuals for them to happen? What is the net major change that we will go through? A complete switch in how we look at animal rights?
And what would Lincoln think of the media landscape if he had lived today? Would he be on Twitter?
I thought about all of this and turned every stone to find something clever, insightful to say.
But the image that kept coming back to me was anything but dignified. What I saw in front of me thinking back at Lincoln was beards. Hundreds of beards in all shapes, one uglier than the other, dancing around my head like the pink elephants encircling the wasted Dumbo.
You see: Lincoln is a hairy movie, probably the hairiest movie I’ve seen, far succeeding Hair, which is thoroughly shaved. Even The Hobbit, with all its variations of facial hair can’t compete. The dwarves looked funny enough, but they’re just 13, where Lincoln has a full house of representatives in moustaches and beards.
According to IMDb they needed ten hair stylists, two additional hair stylists, one assistant hair stylist, one hair department coordinator and one department head stylist to make it Oh,and I almost forgot: one hair stylist assigned especially to tend to the hair of Daniel Day-Lewis. Go figure.
There’s no doubt that this is a feast for facial hair fetishists. (Personally I’m not one of those. Unless you’re Gandalf, Dumbledore or Santa Claus, I think most men look better with their faces clean.) The question is: can I recommend it for other reasons?
Frankly I’m not sure what to say. It’s well-crafted the way you’d expect from a movie of this size and John Williams’ score was less on-the-nose than I had feared. This is a movie that speaks more to your intellect than your heart and I think the amount of enjoyment you get from it correlates to how much you know and how interested you are in American history. I dare say I think it works better for an American than a European audience.
But I can’t get around that I could feel the long running time in my body. Some movies sweep me away to the extent that I lose sense of time and space. But in the case of Lincoln, I was fully aware of where I was during the entire movie, and I knew exactly how much that remained of the movie, second by second.
I try not to use the word “dull”, sine it’s such a subjective term, but let’s put it this way: I wasn’t very engaged by it. No heart pounding, no tears welling up, nothing. Well, apart from this urge to rewatch The West Wing, the same thought as I had after watching The Ides of March. Will there ever be any movie or TV series with a political theme that can match it. I doubt it.
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, US 2012) My rating: 3,5/5