Every now and then across every generation an icon arises and few would argue that one of ours is without a doubt Barack Obama. The former American President is an individual who will live long in history for obvious reasons with his origins story also being something to look at with great interest and to some extent, is fascinating and enviable. Such is the interest in his story that it was only a matter of time that we would get a proper look at it and it couldn’t have come any better than my favourite filmmaking studio, HBO.
Given the opportunity to watch a little earlier by Showmax, I immediately jumped at the opportunity and there’s no explanation as to why that is. Now actively streaming on the network (Showmax) effective from this week, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union chronicles the personal and political journey of President Obama as America grapples with its racial history.
A motivational and inspirational piece, the three-part docu-series is directed by seven-time Emmy winner Peter Kunhardt and executive produced by The New Yorker‘s Jelani Cobb. It has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with RogerEbert.com calling it “a comprehensive and compelling analysis… Kunhardt’s film brightly illuminates how essential the discussion of Obama’s handling of race is to American culture as a whole, especially when it was no accident that every president before him was a white man.”
Timed to coincide with the former president’s 60th birthday, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union features the likes of politician Jesse Jackson, professors Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West, political consultant David Axelrod, authors Michael Eric Dyson and Ta-Nehisi Coates, journalists Laura Washington and Michele Norris, reverends Alvin Love and Jeremiah Wright, speechwriter Jon Favreau and New Yorker editor David Remnick.
Told in a chronological manner, as expected with all HBO material, the series is well structured and is interspersed with Obama’s own speeches and news interviews. It begins with his childhood and takes us through his perspective as the son of a white mother from Kansas and an African father, his spiritual formation by a generation of Black leaders, and his hopes for a more inclusive America.
But, as Los Angeles Times, says, “HBO’s new documentary goes places the Obama media machine might not have… It ultimately sets itself apart by taking a deeper look at the multitude of issues that surfaced after America finally chose its first Black president.”
Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union is a great watch regardless of your opinions about the man himself. For those who are massive fans of his (like me), it will no doubt find a lot of favour and help give a wider look at the former President’s story and what his ultimate drive and motivation was and still is. It’s worth your time and you can stream all three episodes on Showmax.
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