Life as Lincoln | Chicago Reader

Life as Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln has become so many things to so many people that, inevitably, this documentary about three different Lincoln impersonators (or "presenters") says more about them than about him. They're a diverse bunch, to be sure: Larry Elliott of Hodgenville, Kentucky, recalls being escorted out of an old folks' home after he began inveighing against abortion, whereas Lonn Pressnall of Forsyth, Illinois, sits for most of his talking-head interviews in a Yo La Tengo T-shirt. Director Caitlin Grogan follows them around to their public appearances, where people's questions are so ignorant that any serious Lincoln scholarship the men might have done largely goes to waste. ("I thought you got shot in the head," protests one Boy Scout.) The movie culminates at a gathering of the Association of Lincoln Presenters in Maryland, where the sea of beards and stovepipe hats further flattens one of America's most complicated heroes. 77 min.

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