Hendrik Hertzberg deals with a few gripes he had with Lincoln.
I now think that I initially reacted to “Lincoln” the way that so many Radical Republicans reacted to Lincoln himself: I was demanding perfection, and pouting when perfection wasn’t forthcoming. But compromise is inevitable—in life, in politics, in movies. That’s one of the movie’s messages, and one of its meta-messages, too. On second viewing, I put aside the nitpicking. I realized that the very narrowness of my complaints was backhanded evidence of the enormous amount that the film gets right. And, indeed, virtually every point that the story and script of “Lincoln” makes is grounded in historical fact, even if the conventions and limitations of a theatrical film, especially one that eschews narrations and “crawls,” sometimes require awkward or contorted “exposition.” If some of the dialogue “sounds written” rather than spoken, that is because so much of it is drawn directly from letters, memoirs, and speeches. (Also, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction: for example, the scene with Tad that I describe above in item eleven turns out to be mostly true, although the theatre manager’s behavior was less callous, because his announcement came after the rumor had already spread throughout the theatre.)