The Election of Barack Obama

By the People: The Election of Barack Obama traces the journey of Barack Obama to his inauguration as America’s first biracial president. The film is a document of a huge historical moment. Filmed during the historic 2008 presidential election campaign, this documentary goes behind the scenes to trace the journey of Barack Obama from his seat in the United States Senate to his inauguration as America’s first biracial president. Filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams offer candid footage of Obama and his aides from inside the campaign and also examine the fervent grassroots movement that helped propel Obama to the White House. It’s a documentary of the Obama campaign from the inside and the people running it and about how energizing his campaign was. This behind-the-scenes movie is unexpectedly intense and emotional. The most interesting part is how Obama was a nobody on the national political scene and how that turns into a historic campaign. It’s a compelling document that chronicles Obama’s rise from semi-obscurity on election night 2006 when the film begins to the moment when he’s officially elected President. The filmmakers were granted incredible access and capture some nice candid moments with the Obama family and the campaign staff. There are incidents here that the press didn’t have access to, and are not available anywhere else. It shows behind the scenes when he was with his campaign managers and local staff. It really did a good job showing those at the grass roots levels and their diehard work ethic to do what they could during the caucuses. Where the film is most effective is in showing the ground game, as staffers organize on the local and statewide level. We follow one young staffer as he bounces from Iowa to several other states, and his passion and emotion, culminating in a tearful call to his mother on election night, that provides much of the heart to the movie. The emotion and loyalty displayed by paid staff and volunteers was quite significant. They all wanted to play a part in history. I thought it did do a great job showing how his young and inexperienced campaign team did a full team effort and helped Obama get to where he is at as President of the United States. Barack Obama showed his appreciation for his staff’s hard work by giving them positions in his administration. This film gives you an idea of the ups and downs of the whole process. At the Democratic convention we get a glimmer of emotion as he ponders the parallel of his success with ML King’s aspirations. Bigots, birthers, racists, Ayers, Palin and John McCain speed by in a flash before we get Barack in tears at the death of his grandmother. On election night we are closeted with campaign staff, tense then joyful, but Obama is invisible. Finally we see him at a distance in his hotel room. Fade to black. The closing credits finally provide an emotional montage. The film is a document of a huge historical moment. I bought the DVD for its historical significance and the fact that the filmmakers got exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Obama campaign. A reporter featured in it, Richard Wolffe has written a book about the campaign as well. Everyone has their opinions of him and all politicians — nonetheless it was an entertaining documentary. Probably only progressives, journalists, democrats, liberals, or centrist independents would enjoy watching this. Racists, white supremacists, conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party members would probably not enjoy watching this. Definitely a good watch if you are democratic and a fan of the Barack Obama. This is a skillfully made and engaging film. Documentary 2009 NR 116 minutes.


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