Thursday, May 7, 2020

Review: Becoming

Release date: May 6, 2020
Running time: 89 minutes
Starring: Michelle Obama

Becoming is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama set during the book tour of her memoir, Becoming.  It delves into her time as the First Lady, but also helps to deal with the impact her and her husband had on the country and their legacy during today's very different times.  The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of her personality and what she means to so many people in this time of great change. 

The most amazing thing about this film is that it gives an intimate look into Michelle Obama and those around her.  Scenes of her public appearances are mixed with candid behind the scenes shots and casual moments with her family, her friends, and her staff.  A few prominent individuals on her staff are highlighted, giving some backstory to how they met and the personalities that surround the former First Lady.  The documentary also highlights several community gatherings--small meetings with 15 to 20 people from the local community--that happened during her book tour.  These community gatherings offer a rare look into Obama in an intimate setting and really shows the impact that she has had on so many.  It also shows the strength of her personality; she doesn't just do these to accept praise.  Obama uses these settings to challenge the youth and community members to be all that they can be.

If there is one criticism of this documentary, it is that there doesn't seem to be a strong underlying storyline throughout it.  The movie has the book tour, but tends to jump around to various subjects throughout.  One second you are meeting a member of Obama's staff, and the next you are hearing her giving an interview for the book, and the next you see a random scene with her and her children.  Don't get me wrong, I loved all of these scenes and the documentary is a treasure trove of clips and insights on Obama's life.  But it would have been nice to have a more structured presentation, such as starting from her childhood, and then moving throughout her life.  But don't let this very minor criticism keep you from watching this documentary.  

Becoming gives the nation an intimate, casual look into the most popular woman on the planet, and will remind you of everything that she stood for and how much more she can and will do for our country.

Watch it.

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