"For a documentary that is presumably a case study asking whether or not a woman can ever be elected president in America, Hillary is light on scrutiny of the missteps and miscalculations over the course of Clinton’s three-decade likability makeover, offering up pressure for Clinton to change her last name, her hair, her clothes, and her speech as from society rather than her own team," says Emily Alford. "But in the case of women politicians, is the call coming from inside the house? Perhaps the imagining of what might make a woman more likable and forcing those alterations upon our female candidates is part of the problem."
Despite the title, Hillary isn't really about Hillary Clinton: "Not to the docuseries’ director, Nanette Burstein, anyway," says Shirley Li. "As a veteran of telling stories about controversial subjects, Burstein knew a documentary about one of the most prominent modern political figures would likely be short on revelations. Even with her exclusive access to Hillary Clinton and an array of her friends and staffers, the director understood that she’d be covering the same bases as Clinton’s own memoirs. So instead, Burstein approached Clinton’s life story as a case study, a way to try to answer a pivotal question about the state of U.S. politics today: Can a woman ever—really, actually, not just as a rhetorical question or thought exercise—become president?"