January 25, 2014

The Better Angels

Hey Team,

So I was lucky enough to be able to see a second movie at Sundance this week. It was a "mood piece", so my first thought was "Oh good, another acid trip." Not that I have had many, but as a film major, you've sure have seen a few. But I was happily surprised that it was a fantastic film.

It is the story of Abraham Lincoln's upbringing in the backwoods of Illinois. To be honest, I knew he was raised in Illinois, but I didn't really understand how backwoods they were. As in, boonies, we never see anyone, we live off the land type stuff. The film was shot in black and white, but with the scenery and light, sometimes I just forgot about it. The crew shot about 90 minutes north of New York in some pretty remote locations, but boy did they look like heaven. A beautiful running theme was looking up, at the trees, sunlight, stars, even at the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial at the beginning of the film. It was so majestic and ethereal I could have watched it forever. Not to mention the soundtrack of Classical music including Copeland, Bach, and other composers that just added so much to the grandeur of the story.

The best part of the film was there was very little dialogue, but a narration from an interview with Lincoln's cousin who lived with his family during the early years. Very few accounts exist of Lincoln's upbringing, and this interview was the most detailed. The only two accounts written by Abe himself were short, and written on the campaign trail, according to director A.J. Edwards, who mentioned a few of these details during the Q&A.

The film gave me such an appreciation for a self-starter like Lincoln, and all of the sacrifices he made to get to the White House. Especially with his own son Willie who passed away, and not becoming the farmer or laborer his father may have wished for. It took courage to leave everything behind in Illinois, but also overcome his humble beginnings, face challanges and failures, and still lead the Country through a Civil War. He gave his life for this country, and I'm so happy I have an even better understanding of his young life after seeing this film.

Here's to heroes,


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