- Too much looking past the camera. Photographs of Lincoln show a very direct look, the eyes of an intelligent and powerful man.
- A voice that likewise fails to convey the will and intelligence.
Nor did I believe in Grant, particularly. The actor looked physically soft, as Grant definitely did not. Photographs of Grant taken during the Civil War show a very dangerous man. Tommy Lee Jones's Thaddeus Stevens I thought might have done very well for Thomas Cromwell. Really, the only actor I much believed in was Jackie Hale Early as Alexander Stephens.
The underlying problem may be that we all know too much about Lincoln to accept a movie's version. We know the stories, we know the speeches. We can finish many sentences in the Second Inaugural.. We know that when the physician pronounces Lincoln dead, Stanton will say "Now he belongs to the ages."
I will say that I owe the movie the urge to take out a volume of Lincoln's writings, and read some. For less than $50 dollars--about the price of four tickets to the movie--one can get the Library of America's two volumes of Lincoln's speeches and writings, 1832-1858 and1859-1865,