The worst kept secret in the movie world last weekend was the identity of tonight's unannounced screening at the New York Film Festival, which, as predicted, turned out to be a work-in-progress version of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" with the director in attendance, along with screenwriter Tony Kushner and stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field. I'm not sure how unfinished the film actually is, or how much could be changed between now and the film's release date even if Spielberg wanted to, but the reaction from Lincoln Center suggests that there may be some issues left to "address" (because the Gettysburg address, and Lincoln, with the, he's the guy who gave — all right, let's just pretend I didn't do that and move on).
There were a lot of positive tweets, and even a few ecstatic ones, but there were also a fair number of mixed reactions, and a few strongly negative ones. Pouring over Twitter in the hours after the screening, you saw words like "brilliant" and "sophisticated" and "great," but you also saw words like "wonky" and "boring." Here's a collection of over thirty of those tweets that run the spectrum from good to bad and everything in between. "Lincoln" opens in limited release on November 9th.
Tweeted Reactions to New York Film Festival's Secret Screening of "Lincoln":
"Yes, it was 'Lincoln:' Found it fascinating but flawed. Day-Lewis is amazing in most humanized portrait of Lincoln I've ever seen. #NYFF"
"'Lincoln' soars and Spielbergs best in years #NYFF"
"'Lincoln:' Sophisticated, erudite political procedural from Spielberg and Kushner. Genuinely superb. #nyff"
"Daniel Day Lewis is excellent in Spielberg's 'Lincoln,' but Tommy Lee Jones steals the picture #NYFF50"
"Amazing night at #NYFF – Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has amazing performances all around – Daniel Day Lewis inhabits the role utterly"
"Spielberg's 'Lincoln' is the best film Roberto Rossellini never made. Also one of the best Spielberg did make. #notareview"
"'Lincoln''s beautifully restrained. Evidently product of a playwright. Folks will talk about DDL, but Tommy Lee Jones steals the show. #NYFF"
"Spielberg's 'Lincoln' at #NYFF was rock solid monument to Abe, a bounce back from 'War Horse.' Predix: Oscar noms galore. Tommy Lee Jones FTW"
"'Lincoln' is an amazing movie. Brilliant, political, smart, funny, entertaining, restrained with majestic perfs from DDL, SField, TLJ #NYFF"
"Lots to like in 'Lincoln,' lots to cut (all of JoGo?), but it's mostly very good. DDL and Sally Field should practice their speeches #nyff"
"'Lincoln' (C) Not as bad as the trailers suggested but not interesting enough to watch again. A fine history lesson but not much more. #NYFF"
"'Lincoln' (C). Abraham Lincoln: Vote Hunter. best movie ever made for A&E? Spielberg restrained. Musty, redundant, bearded. ddl & tlj = great"
"'Lincoln' is Spielberg's smallest film since 'Always.' best when portraying a man isolated by incalculable burden. script divided against itself"
"'Lincoln''s got the best ensemble of bearded character actors ever. The quality of the movie varies wildly based on how many are on screen."
"There are enough bearded men yelling at each other in 'Lincoln' to make 'Amistad' look like a John Woo film."
"Colleague asked me to characterize the 'Lincoln' reaction @thenyff. Better than it was for the trailer. It's what it is, but decently so."
"Performances aside, Spielberg's Lincoln was booooooooring."
"'Lincoln' is wonky, lyrical and compelling .#nyff #Spielberg"
"Daniel Day-Lewis much more understated and playful than the scenery-chewing trailer suggests. #nyff #lincoln"
"'Lincoln''s a real winner… Spielberg's best movie in years, but the security at the event sucked shit and really put a damper on the night."
"#Lincoln Tommy Lee Jones has the flashy emotional part with big scenes. He will an awards magnet this year #NYFF"
"Spielberg's 'Lincoln' turns a defining moment in history into a human story. Day-Lewis is dynamic, but it's a great ensemble piece. #NYFF"
"'Lincoln' is heavy on the politics. But I loved all the behind-the-curtain government stuff. Kushner's playwright roots all over it. #NYFF"
"Just saw 'Lincoln' at #NYFF. Swept up by grand Americana theatricality & strong perfs. 1800s West Wing? A bit. Engrossing political melodrama!"
"'Lincoln' is epic! Spielberg now on stage with Tony Kushner. Gave shout to Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field, who are sitting in the balcony."
"Just saw 'Lincoln' @ Alice Tully Hall. Needs some more work but Daniel Day-Lewis has an Oscar nomination in his hands. #NYFF"
"'Lincoln:' Daniel Day-Lewis completely embodies the POTUS. Kushner's writing is brilliant. Spielberg works magic. #NYFF"
"I liked 'Lincoln' more than I thought I would. So take that as a recommendation.#NYFF"
NOTE: The veracity of some tweets originally included in this article have been called into question. We've removed them and are investigating with their authors.