I should start by confessing that I tend to miss Steven Spielberg's more serious efforts and instead usually wait patiently for his next sci-fi epic. I missed War Horse but flocked to Minority Report three times upon its release, to give you an idea.
Maybe I'm an idiot but...
Tom Cruise riding a jetpack! Come on!
Lincoln is the type of film you don't need to watch to see, if you catch my drift. It's typical Oscar bait with loads of talking, loads of courtroom "action", loads of safe lighter-hearted moments, big performances and smoky rooms. You've seen the trailer: you've pretty much seen the movie. That said, I am happy I saw the whole thing. All in all, it's hardly unpredictable, especially if you know what historically happened, but it keeps your interest until the end mostly thanks to terrific performances and a sharp script. Daniel Day-Lewis is as good as you'd expect, as is Tommy Lee Jones and although Lincoln is pretty darn long and mostly takes place indoors in courtrooms and other random rooms, these guys keep the tension going and never let the film become a bore.
The film isn't about Lincoln's life from start to finish but instead follows the political process by which the man passed the amendment which would abolish slavery once and for all and end the Civil War against all odds. The point the film makes could have been made in 15 minutes but if you're interested in the whole political struggle which took place behind the scenes then you'll follow the whole process no problem. Otherwise, be warned: Saving Private Ryan this is not.
This being a Spielberg flick, smaller roles are filled by big names: Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Joseph Gordon Levitt and even James Spader all pop up along with Sally Field who plays Mary Todd Lincoln adding depth and an important personal shade to Lincoln's character. The film really holds up thanks to its performances and it knows it so if you're in the mood for that type of talky biopic then you'll get your money's worth.
Overall, Lincoln is a solid, well made Oscar contender for The Berg with top actors doing top work along with the usual effortlessly stylish visuals and strong John Williams score you'd expect.
Hardly mind-blowing but certainly involving... if you're interested.