(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

SAVING LINCOLN is a film by Salvador Litvak. Litvak was the co-writer and director of the Passover comedy WHEN DO WE EAT? (2005). (His wife, Nina Davidovich, was the co-writer for both films. Note: SAVING LINCOLN is not rated but is family-friendly; WHEN DO WE EAT? is R-rated.)

WHEN DO WE EAT? had several sequences with striking visual styles. SAVING LINCOLN is also unusual visually. There are no sets to speak of. Rather all the scenes are set against a background of actual photographs from the time. The closest it comes to having sets would be a few pieces of furniture in the foreground.

Look, it's not Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN, Tom Amandes is no Daniel Day-Lewis. But the visual conceit is unique. Some may say that is because it was not successful, and indeed it never really fools the eye. It is clear the backdrops are backdrops and not physically present sets. Then again, the scene in the taxi in CASABLANCA clearly has rear-projection in the back window, and no one expects a stage play to have fully constructed backdrops. So perhaps one should consider this a filmed stage play with far more settings than the average stage play.

And Litvak covers a lot that everyone else seems to have ignored. Yes, he throws in all the famous quotes (e.g., Lincoln speaking of Grant, "I cannot afford to lose this man. He fights.") But he also has Mrs. Keckley talk about her son, who passed as white to enlist in the Union Army and was killed at Wilson's Creek.

Released theatrically 13 February 2013. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
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