Calling out ‘Lincoln’ inaccuracies: Earring holes, amendment votes and affairs
Daniel Day-Lewis as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 'Lincoln' (Photo: DreamWorks Pictures)
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney (Democrat) finally got around to screening "Lincoln" -- in theaters since November 9 -- over the weekend. But when he saw the movie's depiction of the landmark 13th Amendment vote, something seemed weird. The film depicts two Connecticut congressmen voting against the amendment that abolished slavery in 1865. "'Wow. Connecticut voted against abolishing slavery?'" audience members asked, Courtney recalled. "I obviously had the same reaction. It was really bugging me."
Courtney did some investigating and verified his hunch that those Connecticut congressmen depicted in the film -- and two more who weren't portrayed -- were actually key in the passage of the 13th Amendment. Connecticut voted for it across the board.
"How could congressmen from Connecticut — a state that supported President Lincoln and lost thousands of her sons fighting against slavery on the Union side of the Civil War — have been on the wrong side of history?" Courtney wrote in a letter to DreamWorks, urging the movie studio to correct the error before the film is released on Blu-Ray/DVD.
Hey, Lincoln Didn't Have Pierced Ears!
One of Day-Lewis' piercings seems to appear at 1:17-in during this 'Lincoln' trailer:
The L.A. Times has offered some explanation:
Historical movies such as Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" have placed a greater premium on authenticity in recent years, with on-set researchers ensuring that costumes, production design and language accurately reflect the age. Filmmakers, however, have a more difficult time making sure the contemporary appearance of their casts doesn't strain a movie's credibility.
As a poor 19th century French factory worker in "Les Misérables," Anne Hathaway incongruously shakes out the shiny, flowing tresses of a Pantene commercial. As a hard-drinking 1970s CIA agent in "Argo," Ben Affleck peels off his shirt to show a torso sculpted enough for a Men's Health cover. As a cigarette-smoking 1940s mafioso's paramour in "Gangster Squad," Emma Stone reveals an improbably pearly white smile.
Teeth whitening, plastic surgery, body piercings, weight training, healthful eating and yoga have made it a challenge to find the perfect period performer. Add the unforgiving nature of high-definition video on which more movies are made and seen and the emergence of visually savvy audiences, and you often have a recipe for historical dissonance.
Day-Lewis' ears and the miscast amendment votes in Spielberg's awards season film are rather glaring once pointed out, but other mistakes some have noticed seem less offensive. These are other purported "Lincoln" inaccuracies: