Although Lincoln is rated PG-13, I thought it was a fantastic movie so we decided to take our 10-year-old to see it. I would characterize her as an academic girl, but history is not her favorite subject, so I was hoping the movie would make it real for her and spark her interest. She is very sensitive to violence, so we told her to close her eyes during about three brief scenes of violence we knew were coming up in the movie, and that worked out well for us.
Overall, she liked the movie. She asked a lot of questions about the stories Lincoln liked to tell and the lessons he conveyed through them, which led to a fun discussion about Lincoln's leadership style and the way he used stories to give people a different perspective. In general, the movie was over her head as far as the politics go. But she understood the core issues, and she was able to compare some aspects of the movie to the political process and events of today. The movie also helped her grasp the importance of civil rights and the struggle that led to the freedom we know in America today.
If you are interested in taking your older kids to this film, you can read more about it in our Lincoln review for parents. Also of note, the filmmakers heavily used the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin as reference. This book certainly would not be enjoyable reading for a 10-year-old. However, they have now released a companion book to the film that is especially for young readers! The full title of the book is Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America: A Companion Book for Young Readers to the Steven Spielberg Film (Compare Prices), and Amazon lists it as having 240 pages.
(Photo © DreamWorks Pictures)