A surprise screening of "Lincoln" at the New York Film Festival Monday night gave movie goers an early glimpse of Steven Spielberg's much-hyped biographical drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis as our 16th president and Sally Field as Mary Todd.
Reactions so far have been positive if not gushing. Based on a small sampling of published reviews and reports, Day-Lewis earns high marks for his performance, though Tommy Lee Jones (as Thaddeus Stevens) may have outshone him. Few critics paid much attention to Fields. The early consensus seems to be that "Lincoln" is a well-made and serious film that will earn its share of Oscar nominations, though awards aren't guaranteed.
Christopher Rosen at The Huffington Post called the movie an "impeccably detailed production .?.?. that's loaded with laudable performances."
"Tommy Lee Jones steals the film right out from under the very good Daniel Day-Lewis," said Katey Rich at CinemaBlend.com. She praised the "dynamite and incredibly wide-ranging supporting cast," but also complained that "There were moments of Lincoln where I was ready to throw something at the screen in exasperation, either where John Williams's score got all War Horse sentimental or Tony Kushner's script got weirdly didactic."
"Oscar-bait incarnate," said The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg. "Although the film runs two hours and twenty-five minutes, every scene felt tight and necessary."
Day-Lewis "plays the lead role with an understated quality, often speaking in quiet, lyrical tones," said the Los Angeles Times' Steven Zeitchik, but he also said the movie "plays on the talky side." The festival audience seemed "appreciative if not overwhelmingly loud."