You Mr. President
A fascinating albeit brief look at the first lady of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas.
In this retrospective documentary, director Rory Kennedy takes us through history with the woman herself. Over the course of 40 minutes, Thomas tells stories from her days first starting with President Kennedy to the present. Also shared along the way are some of her always amusing anecdotes about presidents of the past and what role she feels the current press corps has played in getting us to where we are now.
and the Bad
With all of these stories though, director Rory Kennedy was in a real pinch. With the documentary spanning only 40 minutes, Kennedy faced a real challenge with capturing the best of each decade within a span of a few minutes each. Fortunately, Kennedy manages to accomplish this for the most part. The first act of this feature is paced very well and spends quite a bit of time with Thomas as she talks about her early climb into her career. From there the feature moves seamlessly into her coverage of such historic events such as Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal that broke out during the Reagan administration.
Due to this though, the second half of the feature tends to suffer quite dramatically. In the second act, the story moves more towards her sudden departure from UPI and becoming a famous columnist. While this aspect of her career is just as interesting as her early career highlights, far fewer issues from the last two decades of her career got the same coverage as earlier ones. Some issues touched upon by Thomas in her recollections include the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton administration and her thoughts on the current Iraq war but it’s hard not to feel a little letdown by the lack of coverage from more recent political times.
Final Grade: B+
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Review by L. B. Bryant
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