A documentary on the life and work of Hillary Clinton is set to premiere on the streaming service Hulu. This four-part series is done in collaboration with Mrs. Clinton, and is a rather ambitious project reaching audiences in a critical time: during an election year.
The documentary explores the role women play in US politics, and how feminist politics in particular have shaped Clinton. It is an engaging and timely piece of political film making, definitely worth a watch.
Although Clinton has been a player on the political stage for decades, the film’s focus on her failed 2016 campaign has been a major draw. It features exclusive footage behind the scenes of the campaign, studying Clinton’s view of her loss. One key focus of the film is the infamous October debate, to which the Trump campaign invited accusers of former president Clinton, in regards to sexual misconduct. This was a defining moment for both the film’s narrative, as well as the Clinton campaign.
Clinton later commented on the matter.
“What happened in my husband’s presidency is obviously part of history. He was held accountable, he expressed his regrets and what I saw happening with Trump is the inability of people to figure out how to hold him accountable for anything.”
The documentary is produced by NPR, with great involvement from Mrs. Clinton and her campaign team. Clinton also took part in the film’s promotion, sitting down with NPR to discuss key moments.
“I know I was a good public servant. I hope that I’ve made it a little bit easier for more women to enter the public sphere, and for viewers who watch the documentary on Hulu starting on Friday night, I hope that maybe there are some lessons in that for them, too.”
The movie was produced by Nanette Burstein, and was first presented at Sundance. Burstein also took part in NPR’s promotional campaign. During her interview with NPR, she stated the following:
“I know that Secretary Clinton shared with me that she has what she referred to as the “responsibility gene” where she doesn’t want to just promise things, she likes to break down and explain all the different funding streams and how you would actually accomplish it. And it’s not what the public always wants to take the time to listen to.”
Filming began during the 2016 campaign, garnering staggering amounts of campaign footage. The results of the election changed the course in which the documentary had been headed, shifting focus on to why the election ended in the way that it did. The series of interviews accompanying the footage were made in 2018, combined with archival footage of Hillary Clinton from various stages of her life and career.
The new election taking place this year is also a major subject of the documentary, as two important players in the film are now involved in the 2020 race. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are mentioned in the film, and not in a flattering way.
On the matter of both men, Clinton stated the following:
“Honestly, Bernie just drove me crazy. He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him [in the 2016 primary]. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. He did not work until he was like 41, and then he got elected to something. It was all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Clinton was just as open when she discussed president Trump.
“I was totally emotionally wrecked. I felt like I’d let everybody down, I felt like—I worried that he wouldn’t rise to the occasion, that all the forces he’d unleashed had been rewarded. It made me sick to my stomach. It didn’t make sense.”
This film is not only a matter of current politics, but a mediation on feminism on the American stage. It is a must-watch, as we near yet another historic and consequential election.