World of Wonder‘s co-founder, filmmaker, Fenton Bailey is at Sundance and he mentions Hillary, and the misogyny our country has yet to overcome in this post from a few days ago.
Here’s his take on the new Hulu doc which just premiered.
Transfixed by every minute of Hillary the amazing four-hour marathon doc by Nanette Burstein. It’s a tour de force, although the reviews seem unfairly underwhelmed… The NY Post calls it,
“the recurrent canker sore on America’s butt”
Rich coming from one the country’s nastiest cancers.
Ironies also abound in the film: At the outset of her career Hillary worked on researching articles of impeachment against Nixon. So she knows what is and what is not a high crime and misdemeanor. And when the independent counsel cleared them of any wrongdoing over Whitewater, she knew that impeaching her husband for lying about an affair was an overreach and a travesty. And how do we truly feel about one personal lie compared with Trump’s 16,241? How do we feel about that impeachment over an indiscretion versus this?
But this film is about Hillary and what extraordinary grace and strength it must have taken to stand by her husband, even though he betrayed and humiliated her in the most public painful way possible.
She stood by her man and Trump – who by his own admission has molested and assaulted multiple women – taunts her as an enabler. He called her “crooked Hillary” which may just be another of his now countless lies, but coming from a crook himself is pretty fucking triggering.
But this film is about Hillary. She knew what she was up against with Trump. She knew he was a Russian puppet.
And she was also up against the likeability thing, which turns out to be the central theme and riddle to solve of this film. Trump mocked her for playing the woman card, crowing that even women don’t like her. The reason why is so obvious it shouldn’t need stating; deep-rooted institutionalized mysogyny and sexism. She doesn’t whine. She doesn’t lash out. Instead she tells a joke:
Walking along a cliff a man falls over the edge. As he plunges to his death he catches a branch. “Please God, help me” he says dangling in mid-air “I’ve led a good life. Been a good person. Done good things. Help me”. And God replies “You know what? There’s just something about you I don’t like”.
Mic drop. It explains everything from the e-mail non-scandal that dogged her campaign from start to finish, to the ten futile Benghazi investigations that all found nothing. As she says with a laugh
“I am the most investigated person who is innocent, ever”.
Even though this four hour film is all about “Hillary” culled from 7 days of interviews with her, 2,000 hours of campaign footage, and about 50 other interviews, critics carp that they want more from her… Perhaps they want more emotion, like when Bill Clinton almost cries apologizing about Monica. Bill is allowed to cry. But she is not.
As she explains that sitting exams for law school she was openly harassed by the mostly all-male applicants. She didn’t cry. She didn’t complain. It wouldn’t have done any good. She just put her head down and got on with it. As she has done her entire career:
Law partner. First Lady (Co-President!). Senator. Secretary of State. Presidential candidate (my President!). What a life.
What more do people want?
That’s when I realized this isn’t a film about Hillary. It’s a film about us. We just can’t stand that she is her own woman. There’s a moment late in the film when Barack Obama appears on screen and the audience spontaneously bursts into applause. And even though we love him, it says so much. Because as far as we’ve come we still have a long way to go.
A woman’s place is in the White House.”