Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field in "Lincoln" Credit: David James; SMPSP

Us Rating: ** 1/2

Be wary of a Steven Spielberg-directed Civil War movie -- without a war.

In this cerebral drama, he eschews battle scenes to focus on President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his quest to end the fighting and abolish slavery in 1865.

It's an important history lesson -- and, at times, a bear to watch.

Indeed, a large chunk of the film is devoted to Lincoln preaching policy in smoky chambers.

But there's no debate about the acting: Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones (an outspoken congressman) and James Spader (a droll political operative) are all superb.

Lincoln opens in theaters everywhere on Friday, Nov. 16.