From writer/director A.J. Edwards, a protégé of Terrence Malick (who produced the film), comes the story of young Abraham Lincoln’s difficult childhood. The film is set in the Indiana woods, 1817, when Abe (Braydon Denney, in a striking performance) was eight. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. The Better Angels explores Abe’s family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality. Edwards creates breathtaking visual and narrative poetry to express the Lincolns’ world. The stark wilderness they inhabit comes alive in stunning black-and-white cinematography, portraying the physical and emotional struggle of the characters. With an elegant touch and precise attention to historical accuracy, Director Edwards shows the austerity of the era and reveals what shaped one of history’s most distinctive leaders.
“Whereas other directors have presented the man in mythic terms, “The Better Angels” renders young Abe relatable, provided auds are willing to put themselves on the film’s wavelength.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“Shot in gorgeous, breathtaking black and white and edited in a documentary-like style, The Better Angels has a timeless sensibility to it.” – Austin Trunick, Under the Radar
“’The Better Angels,’ as pictorially beautiful and emotionally evocative as it is, is so bereft of conventional narrative momentum that you have to consider it a miracle it got made.” Glenn Kenny, Roger Ebert.com