“I am the President of the United States of America … clothed in immense power!”
As I’ve continued to think about the movie Lincoln, the above line is one of many which return again and again to my mind. Though it seems impossible (or, at best, unfair) to pick any single line above another.
Lincoln is certainly the best film I’ve seen all year. I found it to be provoking, sobering, encouraging, and beautiful.
The art and craft of storytelling through film seems to be more and more rare these days. In Lincoln, all the components of a movie — acting, cinematography, writing, costume and set design, editing, etc. — come together into a single, cohesive work of moving art. It is moving to watch, moving to hear, and once taken in, it lodges itself in your heart and mind for a while.
The line I quoted at the top was spoken not with pride, but with honest humility and great vehemence. Which is why I think this the line that keeps coming back to me; it sums up the character of Abraham Lincoln as played by Daniel Day-Lewis perfectly. Though you’ll have to see it for yourself in the context of the movie to fully grasp and appreciate why.
The character of Lincoln in this movie was portrayed as a deeply humble and clear-minded man. He knew he was placed in his presidential office by the vote of the people. And therefore, acknowledging and exercising his power as the President was not an act of pride but of humility.
He knew who he was and what he needed to do. He used his immense power as President to fight for the freedom of all men. And in the end, we know it cost him his life.