This weekend we were able to see two movies--one at home and one at the Theater (Friday was payday!) The Lincoln movie was very interesting, and I was so impressed by Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of this greatest of Presidents. There was a degree of political correctness thrown in by Spielberg, at least to my mind. I was really more interested in the characterization of Mary Lincoln. As I watched, I saw elements that seemed very familiar to me--then at the end of the movie, author Catherine Clinton was mentioned as a source. We use her book, Mrs. Lincoln: A Life to explore the life and character of this controversial individual in our First Ladies course at the College. The representation of Lincoln's relationship with the boys seems to come right out of the Clinton book--Lincoln had difficulty relating to their oldest, Robert. The younger son, (they had lost two other boys already by this time) Tad, always had access to his father. The boys had a reputation for being a bit unruly! From what I have read, the marriage between the President and Mrs. Lincoln was strained by not only the times, but their very different personalities. But I come away from the various biographies believing they genuinely loved one another; that love was cemented by their indulgent and lavish love for their boys, particularly the three youngest sons.
The movie was a bit kinder to Mary than history has been. Clinton's book opens with a description of how Mary's hysterical wailing and screaming led to her removal from the President's bedside as he lay dying. This is not portrayed in the movie. I wonder why Spielberg departed from history here.
Mary is hard to understand, but her love for Lincoln can't fairly be challenged, and I was glad to see that aspect of the relationship dealt with well in the movie.
Most of you reading this blog have probably seen the movie; if you haven't, I would recommend it, but beware of some really salty language, particularly using the Lord's name in vain.