Friday Film Review--"Becoming"
A documentary which made its debut on Netflix this month tells the story of former First Lady Michelle Obama on a book tour promoting her best-selling memoir.
Linda Jager shares her view of the film, “Becoming” for this week’s Friday Film Review.
As a college-bound teenager, Michelle Obama was told by her high school guidance counselor that she wasn't Princeton material. A conversation that - not surprisingly - angered her at the time but motivated her to follow and achieve her dream to attend an Ivy League college. Personal stories like this are woven throughout the new documentary "Becoming" - a behind the scenes journey following Michelle on her book tour promoting her memoir of the same name.
"Becoming" opens with Michelle kicking off the 34-city tour to a packed theater in Chicago, her hometown, where she sits down for an intimate and inspiring conversation with Oprah. But "Becoming" is about so much more than the memoir and the tour. It's an opportunity for viewers to establish a virtual connection with Michelle and to be uplifted by her messages of acceptance, encouragement, hope, and the importance of community.
We meet Michelle's inner circle - the team behind the former First Lady including her longtime Chief of Staff, stylist and secret service agent - as they embark on a series of sold out events, where she sits down with an all-star roster of moderators including Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien and Reese Witherspoon.
Michelle shares personal stories and photos from her childhood to her time on the campaign trail and ultimately the White House. The appearances and interviews with her family members including her mother Marian, brother Craig, and daughters Sasha and Malia - and a cameo from Barack - are highlights of the film, as is the visit to her childhood home with touching stories about her late father Fraser.
The most poignant moments in the film showcase Michelle's role as a mentor. While touring, she took time out to sit down and talk with small groups- including young female students, Native American youth, and a church group of elders. Michelle shares that it's the value of connection and conversations with others that make the arduous tour worthwhile.
"Becoming" runs 90 minutes and is directed by Nadia Hallgren. Streaming now on Netflix, it's a film worth watching not only for fans of the former First Lady, but anyone who's seeking inspiration and a renewal of Obama-era hope.
This is Linda Jager with the KPCW Friday Film Review.