Whether or not you’re a fan of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Hulu documentary series offers insight into both her life and marriage.
The four-part documentary series runs in at 253 minutes. It’s a worthy commitment to binge-watch in one day but the decision is totally worth it. It’s how I spent my Sunday afternoon following the end of a very long week.
Before I go any further, I’ll disclaim that I am a life-long member of the Democratic Party. I was proud to cast my vote in the Kentucky primary for then-Senator Clinton in 2008. Similarly, I was just as proud to cast my vote for her not once but twice in 2016. I’m still with her! Speaking personally, I found out about Sarah McBride because of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Enough of my getting political but hey, all art is inherently political! Right?!?
No stone in this documentary manages to go unturned. Of course, Clinton family opens on their marriage and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The honest truth is that this certainly would not be an authentic documentary without addressing the scandal. It really wouldn’t. Sure, the film also goes into some of the conspiracies like Whitewater that were drawn out because of the Republicans. But I’m not lying when I say that there are positives in watching the film, too.
When you watch this doc, you can’t help but feel for Secretary Clinton with the shit that she put up with from conservatives. Here’s a strong women who was tasked by President Bill Clinton with chairing a task force on National Health Care Reform. Mind you, this was in early 1993 when the Democratic Party held both the House and the Senate. President Clinton campaigned on universal health care reform and not even a Democratic legislature could come through on his promise. Unfortunately, being put in this position also meant having to deal with attacks from the right–including the likes of Rush Limbaugh etc.
There’s a decent a mount of time in discussing the 2016 campaign. Clinton makes her feelings known about Bernie Sanders in this film. Trump, too–especially during the debates. Clinton isn’t afraid of calling Trump a bully because he most certainly is! We can still see this throughout his current language in rallies and sadly enough, social media. Regardless of the unfortunate results, Secretary Clinton remains an inspiring figure in American politics. More women ran for president as a Democrat in 2020 than ever before. One could say that we have her to thank for it.
One would think that Republicans would be willing to talk on camera. Unfortunately for viewers, not even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wanted to appear in the documentary. The only Republican–to his credit–willing to talk on camera is former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Frist was elected to the Senate in 1994 and true to his word, did not seek reelection in 2006. But enough about him.
Never-before-seen footage from the campaign trail is one of the benefits of viewing this film. Tal Ben-David’s editing helps to tell a coherent story between the exclusive interviews and archival footage. Secretary Clinton spoke for some 35 hours on camera and only so much actually made the final cut. I’d be interested in seeing some of the footage that didn’t get included. Who knows–maybe there’s a companion book.
Even with the material that didn’t make the final cut, it’s hard to get upset. After all, this documentary series is just over four hours! Give Tal Ben-David all the editing awards now because the documentary is watchable in one day. You might get angry at times because of the current political climate but it kind of goes without saying.
Don’t let the “mature audience” warning fool you. Children should watch this documentary to learn about Secretary Clinton. Sure, there’s some language every now and then but please do not let this stop you. In an alternate universe, Secretary Clinton would be the current president. For now, we’ll dream of the day when we elect the first woman to the office. Until then, one can relive some of the glory days of the Clinton White House years by way of Hillary.
DIRECTOR: Nanette Burstein
FEATURING: HIllary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton