Becoming cast: Michelle Obama
Becoming director: Nadira Hallgren
Becoming rating: 1.5 stars
“There’s another chapter waiting for me out there,” says Michelle Obama in the latest Netflix documentary Becoming. If those lines are anything to go by, it seems like she is hinting at her political entry. And even though she has denied it in the past, chatter about her being Biden’s running mate is hard to miss, which brings us to the purpose of Becoming.
Is it a documentary to please her fans and supporters, or does it exist to remind people what they had in the White House until 2016? Does it exist to solidify her heroic journey? Or is it simply a promotional activity? Those questions loom over as you watch the 90-minute documentary, directed by Nadira Hallgren.
I don’t live in the United States, and I am not as affected by their politics as their citizens so Michelle Obama somehow doesn’t have the same impact on me as she possibly does on American people. With that objectivity in place, I started questioning the purpose of this documentary.
Here, we see Michelle Obama on her book tour to promote Becoming (the memoir), travelling from city to city and meeting thousands of people. To many Americans, she is the beacon of hope. She is the promise of a better tomorrow, and it can be seen with the way they talk to her. Her singular focus on every person she talks to is simply charming, and it is here that you start thinking if this could be a hagiography, in the guise of a documentary. The events where she repeats the same set of dialogues (in conversation with different moderators) further reinforce that belief. The documentary film has been produced by Higher Ground Productions, which has been set up by the Obamas.
To make matters worse, Becoming doesn’t offer anything new. Michelle Obama talks about being her own person and not losing herself as her husband became POTUS. She discusses her childhood, her years working as a lawyer, her early days with Barack, motherhood and her duties as FLOTUS. Michelle also opens up about the unnecessary criticism she received from the media during Barack’s campaign before taking office in 2008.
Becoming ends up being a mediocre documentary. It isn’t all that it’s hyped-up to be.