Daily News header

Looking for Lincoln PBS-TV Film Review

By     get stories by email

Checkered Legacy of Lincoln Revisited by PBS Series


What's the truth about Abraham Lincoln? Was he really the man mythologized as "The Great Emancipator" and a champion of equality for African-Americans? Or was he, as some detractors say, a racist only freed the slaves as a last resort to save the Union because the North was losing the Civil War. Or still again, was he, as unrepentant rebels still describe, a traitor of Southern whites who single-handedly ruined the nation forever with the Emancipation Proclamation.

These are the divergent points-of-view of the 16th President of the United States presented in Looking for Lincoln, a 2-part PBS Series hosted by Harvard University Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates. Among the historians weighing-in is Ebony Magazine editor Emeritus Lerone Bennett, Jr. author of Forced into Glory, a damning biography which depicts Honest Abe as a hypocrite who enslaved far more blacks than he ever freed. And at the other extreme, Gates interviews some rednecks he tracked down at a sons of the Confederacy convention who looked like they were ready to string him up if he pushed the issue.

Not surprisingly, most of the luminaries participating in the program tend to speak of Lincoln in more glowing terms. Included in this group are Pulitzer Prize-winners Doris Kearns Goodwin and Tony Kushner, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Professors David Blight, Allen Guelzo, James Horton and David Herbert.

As usual with his PBS programs, Skip Gates is given to making some of his typically-grating, nails-on-the-blackboard pronouncements, such as "If I had been President, I would have followed the same blueprint." Equally-infuriating is his saying "Doris was right," in going out of his way to rubber-stamp Kearns Goodwin's lame explanation for Abe's decades-long delay in joining the abolitionist movement. "Lincoln had to live in his times," she explains.

Perhaps even more ponderous is her assertion that "It's not Lincoln's fault that he was mythologized" despite her adding to the mystique with her best seller "Team of Rivals." Then, she makes the equally-bizarre claim that he was assassinated "on the happiest day of his life" without providing any conclusive proof to draw such a dramatic conclusion.

Nonetheless, Looking for Lincoln is a worthwhile bio-pic which knocks off his pedestal an American icon undeserving of secular sainthood.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated: TV-PG
Running time: 120 minutes
Studio: PBS

Looking for Lincoln premieres on PBS on Wednesday, February 11th at 9 PM (ET/PT)

To see a trailer

Kam Williams

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Here, Denzel and director Antoine Fuqua discuss their reuniting to collaborate again on The Equalizer.
Including Richard Gere starring as a homeless man in the dramatic feature Time Out Of Mind, that may not actually be so much about the homeless; a somewhat feminist Confederacy thriller that may be less about the US Civil War than say, Sam Peckinpah
Our Movie Reviewer Kam Williams reviews The Roosevelts: An Intimate History which airs on PBS mid September, with excellent ratings.
For once 'hide behind the sofas' is a justified phrase in this riveting and revelatory episode that will become an instant classic with fans across the world.
A sophisticated brand of humor in This Is Where I Leave You, an alternately droll and laugh out loud dramedy directed by Shawn Levy (Date Night).
The theatrical directorial debut of Sam Miller, best known for Luther, the BBC-TV series featuring Idris Elba in the title role for which he won a Golden Globe

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site