Beth and I finally saw Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln last night, something we’ve been planning to do at least twice a week since the film opened three months ago. Anchored by a strong lead performance and solid supporting work from a sea of recognizable character actors, Lincoln is Spielberg’s best film in a decade.

I know a few people who can’t stand Spielberg films because of their overt sentimentality. The director artificially elevates scenes, characters, events and moments to the point of head-shaking unreality through his use of music, lighting and the camera. He also highlights stilted dialog in moments of grand pomposity designed to tell a viewer to pay attention because This Is Important. But by golly if it doesn’t work much of the time. Spielberg is a master manipulator and while I often recognize these heightened moments–thankfully Spielberg gets one of the “worst” out of the way in the first five minutes of Lincoln–I find myself looking past or even being swept along with some of them. I have no trouble enjoying a movie with a beating heart, even if that heart is sometimes pumping sugar syrup.

As I watched Lincoln, one thing that stuck out to me was the set decoration. The world of the film is incredibly detailed, but something felt just a bit off to me. Continue reading