Watched It - October 14, 2011
Stars - James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline
Director - Robert Redford
Rating - PG-13
In 20 Words or Less - A young lawyer from the North must defend a Southern woman accused of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln.
Themes - Loyalty, justice, family bonds, situational ethics, patriotism, conscience, truth
Pros - Mr. Redford, his cast, and crew have put together a compelling story here. The parallels between the 1860's post-Civil War America and the 2000's post-9/11 America are obvious. Although my conservative political roots wanted me to dismiss the film as being too politically charged and left-leaning, I couldn't get away from the feeling that this movie had, at its core, a genuinely patriotic heart. Although I cannot personally verify the historical accuracy of many aspects of the screenplay, I can say that it presented several very powerful and thought-provoking ideas and questions about justice, loyalty, and ethics. The pacing and underlying tone of the movie were well suited to the subject matter.
Cons - This will sound strange, but I really did not like the portrayal of the Lincoln assassination at the opening of the film. For some reason, I found it somewhat awkward and unconvincing. I really feel the movie would have been better if that moment were left to our imagination. Several of the supporting performances were quite weak.
Movie Moment - Frederick Aiken's case summation at the close of the trial--"If his mother can be convicted on such insufficient evidence, I tell you, none of you are safe!"
Genuineness - 9 out of 10