Lou Lumenick at the NY Post has posted a reaction from an anonymous audience member that attended a recent test-screening of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln in New Jersey. The unnamed source of which Lumenick refers to as a "nonprofessional" says the "performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hal Holbrook were great" while at the same time saying Sally Field was "miscast", "Joseph Gordon Levitt as Lincoln's eldest son was OK but he really didn't add anything to the story" and then the final verdict, "the film as a whole [was] boring" and "felt claustrophobic."
The immediate reaction from Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere is to recognize we are now observing an opinion from someone of which we have absolutely no information on. Who is this person? To ask Sasha Stone from Awards Daily we're reading into the opinion of "anonymous jackasses".
To go by IMDb's comment boards the screening took place in Paramus, NJ and if we're to take the above comment into consideration how about jamest155 who wrote on IMDb:
Great film. Watching the film and watching Daniel Day lewis you really thought you were watching Abraham Lincoln. Much different than any Steven Speilberg film I have ever seen. Highly recommended especially if you enjoy movies about history.
Of course, the funniest thing about this whole process is the following aggregation of the current opinion by an IMDb user going by the name SMarie1975 who writes:
NOw to tally the score, James on this board liked it alot. A girl on twitter who supposedly saw it recently liked it quite a bit. A guy (who may or may not have seen it) on the MOvie Awards page said he really like it. And another twitter guy said it was good, the whole cast was great especially Tommy Lee Jones..
I can see the next trailer now, "Like it alot (sic) - James" and "Liked it quite a bit - A girl on twitter who supposedly saw it recently" and "Really liked it - A guy (who may or may not have seen it) on the MOvie Awards page." Yes folks, the reviews are flying in.
So if I'm so condescending toward these opinions why post them at all right? Well, because while these opinions may not affect what we think of the film or our anticipation, it's these kinds of reactions and this kind of chatter that can shape the final product we see in theaters.
Lumenick himself notes, "Spielberg has seven weeks to try and fix things like, say, the pacing." This is to suggest there is actually something wrong with the film. Does Lincoln need fixing? A "nonprofessional" believes it's boring so it needs to be fixed?
The film is said to center "on the vote for the 13th amendment, ending slavery and the Civil War," which matches up with what I've heard, insinuating a lot of it takes place in court rooms. Hearing the film is "boring" suggests to me the fascination will be within what is said in the story and the shaping of American history rather than massive set pieces and battlefields.
Lumenick's sources says, "[Y]ou'd think Spielberg would have made a more exciting, riveting film. So much of the story takes place in small, smoky dark rooms with Lincoln talking to one or two people, that my mind began to wander. It felt claustrophobic." Really, would you "think" that?
Spielberg is noted as opposing test screenings and I can only imagine his reaction upon receiving a comment card that says, "Why is it so boring? Where are the explosions and what's with all the talking?"
While Lumenick insists Spielberg has seven weeks to "fix" the film before its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 8, one day before Lincoln rolls into limited theaters, that's actually not true based on what I've heard. I've heard screenings for critics may begin as soon as 7-10 days from now. I have a hard time believing Spielberg will be doing much tinkering before then and to be quite honest, I hope he doesn't. I'd rather see a director's vision than one affected by what test audiences want. After all, I don't think there were any Transformers back then.