The film’s progression from a visual history lesson to a political statement mirrors Souza’s own evolution from observer to advocate. Despite all that he accomplished, according to photographer Pete Souza, the 44th President of the United States never had a day much better than when he coached a basketball game for his daughter Sasha. Despite the poignant images, I felt that this was a lopsided and rushed attempt to demonstrate the contrasts between the former and current presidents.
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It’s an intense, passionate—and seen nearly four years into the disastrous Trump administration—deeply emotional period filmmaker Dawn Porter lovingly captures with the rousing “The Way I See It,” a time-stopping, nostalgia inducing, big-hearted documentary that does for a presidency what “Bill Cunningham New York” did for an era of Big Apple fashion.
And what a wealth of stills these ambitions and a 24/7 commitment yielded. Souza is exactly the person who would know a detail this personal and intimate, having spent eight years working as the chief official White House photographer, following Obama’s every move with unprecedented access to all facets of the man’s life as a father, husband and president. Stepping away from Souza’s work, Porter then reveals images of today’s America: protestors advocating for LGBTQ rights, strengthened gun control and racial equality. Had Porter balanced her critique of Trump and her admiration for the Obama administration in a more gradual progression, I think that the film’s cry for empathetic leadership would have felt less rushed. “Ultimately, I thought he was a decent man,” Souza says about Reagan, while noting his major failings as president, such as his lackluster response to the AIDS crisis and role in the Iran-Contra affair. “It breaks down the idea that these people are somehow different from us,” historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said in the documentary. This review was filed as a part of the Toronto Film Festival.
Instead, the film merely hits the surface level of advocating for the meaningful political change that it seeks to create. A Comcast Company.
The movie reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people.
Remaining by the president’s side, Souza maintained his fly-on-the-wall approach, allowing himself to slip seamlessly onto the scene no matter the intensity of the moment.
The Lantern is the independent, award-winning student voice of Ohio State, covering sports, campus, politics, and arts and life. Through photographs, audiences see Obama comfort a grieving family, with the mother of a victim sobbing into the president’s arms. Pictures show thousands of Kenyans gathered to catch a glimpse of the senator, including a close-up of one spectator who was writing down the words of Obama’s speech on his hand.
Nonetheless, I think the film serves as a timely narrative that indulges audiences by reminiscing on what once was as the uncertainty of a looming presidential election weighs heavily on the minds of many Americans. Meanwhile, he didn’t neglect to shoot the world that surrounded the Obamas, recording countless awe-struck, tear-stained, joyful faces around the globe that responded to the US leader with utmost amazement and admiration.
October 21, 2020; Brooke McCaffrey “We’re going to have some fun,” Obama apparently said to Souza when they first started working together. With escalating poignancy, Porter patiently unfolds both this fearless, later-life conversion in mission for Souza and his career in general, finding major inspiration in two of the artist’s bestsellers: Obama: An Intimate Portrait as well as Shade. Ironically, he didn’t know what “shade” meant then, when he decided to break a fourth-wall of sorts on his personal Instagram account (now with 2.3 million followers) and post an iconic image of the 44th President in the Oval Office, with a simple but telling caption regarding the chamber’s old, pre-Trump curtains: “I like these drapes better than the new ones, don’t you?” Souza’s intentions with his post were abundantly clear: to ridicule the gilded taste and bankrupt character of Obama’s successor. In Souza’s words, he witnessed this family grow up together. Still, the filmmaker, who recently directed the civil rights documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” goes further back in time and dedicates a slice of her film to Souza’s years with Republican President Ronald Reagan.
© 2020 Focus Features. Inspired by the New York Times #1 bestseller comes Dawn Porter's The Way I See It, an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in American History, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed at the Charleston church shooting. This drama is based on the true story of a rural community that is forever changed when they must help a local family search for their missing son.
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