Friday, December 14, 2012


    I cried from the beginning of Lincoln, the new movie, for two reasons: one: a friend I admired, a critic who hated the movie, I realized I would lose because I liked it, and two: when I was two years old and three months old I recited the Gettysburg Address, which made me a star in Pittsburgh. The words, tumbling through my soul, must have tumbled through that torrential time, with parents who despised and were violent with each other, when I didn't yet understand what life was about (do I now?)  But I got that being bright and commanding attention could get you something.
   The  movie itself broke my heart, because much as I would like to dismiss Steven Spielberg as the greatest filmmaker of our time, there is just no doing so.  I can be personally heartbroken because I had the curious privilege of being at a party in Malibu when my son, who seemed like he had all the gifts at six, was in a corner with Spielberg the whole time.  And when, some years later, I encountered Spielberg again, I reminded him of the seeming idiocy of that moment, and he said, when I asked him why he had spent that whole time with my son, "I remember: he was the most interesting person at the party."
    The years have splintered into the reality of life, and everything is shattered and disappointing,  But there is no doubt that this is a magnificent movie.
     And there is even less doubt that life is not fair.  That we all come in with our gifts, and our moxie, our ability to fight to change things, make them better.  Some of us give up.  Some of us stand against what seem impenetrable odds, and do it anyway.  It is a privilege to have lived in the same country as Abraham Lincoln, and to speak the same language.  Surely goodness and mercy shall do whatever it is they do.  But I am not so sure that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  But it is a great movie.