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Connecticut congressman Joe Courtney loved Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln until the film reached its climax, when the House of Representatives vote on the amendment to abolish slavery.
In the film, two of Connecticut’s representatives vote against the amendment, but Courtney did the research. None of the representatives voted against it.
According to The Hartford Courant, Courtney sent a letter to Spielberg’s DreamWorks offices in Hollywood, asking that the director change that in future editions of the movie. He praised the film and said that while a suspension of disbelief is required for some films, he didn’t think that was appropriate here.
“But in a movie based on significant real-life events — particularly a movie about a seminal moment in American history so closely associated with Doris Kearns Goodwin and her book, Team of Rivals — accuracy is paramount,” he wrote.
When he heard the two representatives vote ‘No,’ “I could not believe my own eyes and ears,” Courtney continued. “How could Congressmen from Connecticut — a state that supported President Lincoln and lost thousands of her sons fighting against slavery on the Union side of the Civil War — have been on the wrong side of history?”
The Associated Press reports that Courtney found that all four of the state’s representatives voted for the amendment in 1865. He wants to see the error fixed before Lincoln hits DVD.
Lincoln isn’t the only film based on true events up for Oscars that has been criticized over accuracy.
Ben Affleck had to make changes to Argo’s post-script to better reflect Canada’s role in the CIA operation to rescue hostages in Iran. Also, Kathryn Bigelow has had to defend the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty.
DreamWorks has yet to respond to Courtney.