As the bloody siege of Petersburg has finally begun to show signs of a weakening Confederacy and a new assault on Willmington deems the fall of Richmond imminent, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis), having just gained reelection, sees the current lame duck session as a crucial juncture in American history--one where he can both end the debilitating Civil War and abolish slavery through the passage of the 13th Amendment. Along with stalwart abolitionist and U.S. Representative Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), Secretary of State and confidant William Seward (David Strathairn), and his frenzied yet adept wife Mary (Sally Field), and other members of his party, Lincoln schemes and deals as he braces the nation once more for cataclysmic change, in the final few months before his assassination. After years of production halts, Steven Spielberg finally brings his portrait of the 16th President to the big screen in typically masterful fashion. Working again with Tony Kushner ("Munich"), who scripted from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Spielberg focuses on a very brief (though crucial) point of Lincoln's life and, in doing so, is able to offer an all-encompassing and uncompromising look at the life of our great secular saint, and even goes beyond that by offering a warm and humorous film that, among other things, details the inner workings of our Congress. In uncanny make-up, Day-Lewis is expectedly brilliant and commanding, rivaling even the greatest Abe film performances of Henry Fonda or Raymond Massey. His ability to channel Lincoln, underplay his hand, and not go over the top is only a testament to his considerable talents. The supporting cast is incredible and too vast to list here, with my favorites being Jones delivering an Oscar caliber, prickly (what else?) performance, Jackie Earle Haley as pragmatic Confederate Veep Alexander Stephens, and James Spader in an outrageous and pleasantly unexpected turn as a reprobate lobbyist. For the last few months prior to seeing the film my thoughts were, why are Spielberg engaging in such a safe project, right within both of their wheelhouses? Instead I was blown away in ways I never expected, by a film with a film that strives for realism with incredible epic ambition that is by turns stimulating, deeply felt, and entertaining.