Available now, TVNZ on Demand
Ability to reconstitute four-year-old pain: 5
Chances of subject becoming president: 0
Relevance of Greg's opinion of: 0
Let's just say at the outset, whatever Greg wrote about the Hillary documentary is irrelevant. If there is one thing we don't need any more of it's men's opinions on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sorry honey.
Greg pooh-poohed all of my suggestions for what to review this week, saying they weren't a good fit for this column. Then, incomprehensibly, he suggested Hillary - a four-part television series well outside the parameters of this "film review" - but I, like Hillary, was tired of arguing with a nonsensical male, so agreed.
Hillary is not groundbreaking by any filmmaking standards. It's four hours of talking heads interspersed with archival footage and photos, like every bog-standard television documentary you've ever seen. But hot damn, I was hooked.
It unleashed many feelings for me: Primarily rage, but also sadness. It's hard to review it without using many, many swears. Hillary crystallises what an absolute sham the US election process is - a maddening performance bearing almost no relation to the job on the line.
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Whatever you think of Hillary's political views - which got buried by the email fiasco anyway - I have no doubt this woman, like most, gets stuff done.
There is a moment in the series when Hillary expresses her frustration at the Bernie Sanders' campaign, stating that he had been in Congress for decades and done nothing. Now, I like Bernie; I like his ideals. But Hillary revealed something about him that made my blood boil. Bernie is almost certainly that guy in your political studies paper who monopolises the whole lecture by having righteous philosophical debates with the lecturer but who ultimately fails the course because he never gets around to actually doing the assignment. His campaign slogan "Not me. Us" has taken on a whole new, infuriatingly hands-off, meaning for me. Hillary, on the other hand, would submit her assignment early, do an additional exegesis on her research process, write a proposal for how the assignment could be improved next year and fix up Bill's typo-ridden mess minutes before the deadline. She'd get an A but he'd get valedictorian.
Hillary is a study of what it means to be a woman in politics: both too much and not enough all at once. Is she faultless? Of course not. But I wept for women when they replayed her 2016 concession speech. What a bleeping joke.
Every fibre of my being rebels whenever I'm forced to relive the day in November 2016 when the world faded to orange, but this week I saw no way out. Zanna had become angry at me when I had pooh-poohed all her previous review suggestions, notably 2015 turkey The Intern (on TVNZ this week). She pointed out, rightly, that I had chosen all the movies we have reviewed so far and she raged at me when I said The Intern might not be the best choice, so after much debate I chose Hillary.
When it finished, I asked Zanna what she thought about its worshipful approach to its subject, neglecting all sense of balance. We agreed that getting views from Clinton's opponents and detractors would not necessarily have given us a more accurate picture of her, particularly since her opponents are so frequently so deranged. And does Hillary Clinton need any more investigating? The FBI investigated her emails a few months before the election, found nothing, then investigated the same emails a second time a few days before the election. It would have been laughable if it hadn't - and let's be careful with our language here - imperilled the world.
One of the many, many talking heads in the documentary is former Newsweek columnist Joe Klein, who has written about the Clintons for decades. Klein seems like a smart guy, insightful and so forth, then late in the documentary he gives his opinion that what hurt Clinton the most in 2016 was being defensive about being a woman.
In what ways was she defensive about being a woman? Klein didn't offer any examples, but surely defending yourself is crucial in any election campaign. In one of her televised 2016 debates with Trump, Clinton called him a puppet. Trump replied: "Not a puppet" three times. Too defensive? Or just right?
Of course there's a double standard at play, but the bigger flaw in Klein's argument is its supposition that the way to succeed in the present is to behave in ways that have led to success in the past: Only one type of human being has ever been elected to the White House and it's no coincidence it's the only type that has never had to get defensive about being a woman.