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Braydon Denney as young Abe Lincoln in 'The Better Angels' (Amplify)

Braydon Denney as young Abe Lincoln in ‘The Better Angels’ (Amplify)

Everybody knows that Abraham Lincoln was raised in a log cabin in Indiana. But it’s still jarring to consider how a man raised in the middle of nowhere with little schooling by probably illiterate parents became one of the nation’s greatest and most erudite leaders. A.J. Edwards’ beautifully abstract, Terence Malick-ian film about Lincoln’s childhood explores that mystery with only limited success.

The Better Angels opened yesterday in limited release. My review is at Film Journal International:

Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the nation’s most facile writers and speakers. Yet in this dreamy black-and-white tone poem about Lincoln’s childhood in a dirt-floor cabin in the Indiana woods, the future president says barely a word. It’s an intriguing gambit from debut director A.J. Edwards, the mirror opposite of the standard Spielbergian biopic, and ultimately not a successful one…

Here’s the trailer: