Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – If you haven’t yet seen the new movie “Lincoln,” I strongly recommend it.
It’s Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis at their best, based on the book by Concord’s own Doris Kearns Goodwin, a riveting depiction of Lincoln, on the eve of his assassination, struggling to get slavery banned by the Constitution.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
It’s a realistic piece of American history telling an inspirational story of courage and human dignity, just the sort of theme that normally might make it the best family movie of the season.
But there’s a problem.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that two services that review movies “from a Christian perspective,” have sharply criticized “Lincoln” for including obscenities, about 40 of them according to Movieguide. The other rating agency, The Dove Foundation, wrote that the cusswords used in “Lincoln” don’t “line up with the morals and language of the time period.”
Cue the academic experts, and guess what, they don’t all agree. But no one argues that rough language wasn’t used in the mid-19th century.
Anyway, be warned that there’s some of it in “Lincoln” when you decide whether or not to take the kids.
But for the grown-ups, here’s a question: would it really surprise or bother you to learn that President Lincoln did swear on occasion?
We know most presidents did; some of them have been caught on tape doing it. You might have to go back to Coolidge to find one that didn’t, and only because he rarely said anything, profane or not. Yet many of them have been role models in other ways.
The Lincoln portrayed in this movie is actually a pretty dignified and polite gentleman, who saves his cursing for closed-door meetings and uses it sparingly. And it’s in the context of him doing what he needed to do in an ugly political climate to end slavery.
Lincoln helped repair the biggest American family rift of all time. Maybe, for those who can tolerate some street talk, it could still be the best family movie of the season.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.