Michelle Obama discloses about the new Netflix documentary called ‘Becoming’

For over three years, Michelle Obama has been distant from the White House, a period adequate enough to pen down a memoir and launch an associative documentary film called ‘Becoming’. 

‘Becoming’ which starts streaming on Netflix from Wednesday, is a companion movie to Obama’s top-selling 2018 memoir of the same title. It is partially a self-examination project for the former first lady, comprising scenes curtailed from her book tour, in-depth interactions, and conversations with friends and followers, both onstage and off. 

“The whole idea of doing the tour is about being able to have the time to actually reflect, to figure out ‘what just happened to me?’ remarks Obama to Oprah Winfrey while one of her onstage book tour interactions, sections of which are present in the documentary. “It’s the panic moment of, ‘this is totally me, unplugged, for the first time in a long time.’ “Obama may feel anxious while expressing herself at such a profound truth-telling exercise as revealing her soul in front of tens of thousands of individuals who purchased tickets to her global book tour. But for numerous Americans, Obama stays in their minds as the most approachable first lady of contemporary United States history.

Throughout her tenure, she chose to be publicly present and not concealed in secrecy and formality, but rather at least the perception of realness and normalcy. Supporters connected with Obama as an ideal for modern motherhood and independence. Obama opted to spend her eight years as a first lady as competent to deliver a potent speech on a policy issue while doing pushups on the talk show or even forming a rap song about consuming vegetables. 

In ‘Becoming’ directed by  Nadia Hallgren, Obama opens up about the fragile balance between maintaining her sense of self coupled with facing the incalculable scrutiny that every first lady confronts upon becoming the most acknowledged woman globally. “Every gesture you make, every blink of an eye is analyzed,” “You have the world watching every move you make. Your life isn’t yours anymore.” states Obama in the movie. 

Obama’s paramount concern in the White House was her two youthful daughters, Malia,21 and Sasha, 18. She candidly speaks about raising them there and talks about the struggles she faced to keep them grounded while living in a huge mansion with staff and privileges. In a scene from the documentary, a camera is backstage at a book tour stop to capture Malia visiting her mother, and thinking about the enormous crowd awaiting Obama. Malia tells her Mom, “those eight years weren’t for nothing,” upon noticing the greater impact of Obama’s tenure. 

In what way Obama dealt with the stress of being the first lady is more understandable after seeing and hearing Obama and her family express about challenges that she met most of her life, and not just in White House. Few frequently seen themes in the movie include race, struggling to be heard, and being a woman are, which are pre-dominant topics of discussions with groups of young women, many African American, whom she comes across. 

 “We can’t afford to wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen,” she says. “I feel like I gotta share with you all that the energy that’s out there is much better than what we see.” In the film, she is even seen expressing, “I hope my story urges you to see the power of your story and to own that.”

Even after leaving the White House, Obama has not physically moved far and nor has her objectives deviated either. She is still very active, supporting young women and girls, she now displays vulnerability and insecurity which she could not display earlier. 

So while the announcement of Netflix releasing a “Becoming” documentary came as an unexpected surprise last month, the notion of such a film existed was less shocking. Obama requires little to build up or inspire an audience, as she states in the film, there’s a lot more that she would like to share. “So little of who I happened in those eight years, so much more of who I happened before.”

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