The Netflix documentary telling the former first lady's life story will following her on a 34-city book tour is "filled from start to finish with everything everyone already knows and presumably admires about the former first lady, especially anyone who read her best-selling memoir," says Hank Stuever. "The film (streaming Wednesday, directed by Nadia Hallgren) is a thoughtful scrapbook, briskly perused — an inside look that never gets too inside. Actually, the whole thing could be somewhat skeptically received as an inside job, as so many documentaries about the ultrafamous are these days, with the line blurred between 'subject' and 'producer.' It was made by Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, which has an exclusive deal with Netflix (and has already produced an Oscar-winning documentary with last year’s American Factory). To note this fact is not a criticism so much as a willing acceptance of the ground rules. Those who come here for their reaffirming booster shot of Obama-era hopefulness will get what they’re looking for. Those coming for something else — a news scoop or a bolder contextual take, such as Hulu’s recent Hillary docuseries — won’t get that but can still enjoy the sense of backstage access. Michelle Obama’s presence still electrifies any room she walks into, whether it’s as big as Capital One Arena or as small as a community center meeting room."
TOPICS: Michelle Obama, Netflix, Becoming (Michelle Obama Documentary), Barack Obama, Nadia Hallgren, Documentaries