A four-part documentary series on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton combining previously unseen footage from the 2016 presidential campaign with biographical chapters of her life begins streaming Friday on Hulu.
In recent tweets, Clinton described “Hillary” as telling “the story of women’s shifting roles in America and the long game of making change” along with the story of her life. She also tweeted that a review by Washington Post television critic Hank Stuever describing “Hillary” as “the joys and anguish of being Hillary Rodham Clinton” “sums it up well.”
“Hillary” “did not start out as the film it ended up being,” Clinton said in January at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena.
“It really started out as maybe a campaign documentary because we had about 1,700 hours of behind-the-scenes footage,’ Clinton said. Director and executive producer Nanette Burstein “came back and said, `Look, this is a bigger story. It needs to be told. It’s part of the arc of women’s history, advancement, choices that are made
“I’m not running for anything. I’m not in office. So I said, `Sure, why don’t we give it a try?’ And off we went.”
“Hillary” includes exclusive interviews with Clinton, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, their daughter Chelsea, friends and journalists and examines how she became both one of the most admired and vilified women in the world.
“The reason why I wanted to expand this and tell her life story is that I felt it was so remarkably emblematic of our history over the last 40 years, particularly when it comes to women’s rights and the way that she has been the tip of the spear in various ways and how it overlapped with these various huge historical moments,” said Burstein, who shared a best documentary Oscar nomination with co-director Brett Morgen for their 1999 documentary on three young boxers and their coach, “On The Ropes.”
“I also thought it was important to explain partisan politics. I mean once Secretary Clinton entered the national stage, I think you really see how it has gone from that administration to today where it’s just become more extreme. And more than anything, I wanted people to understand that this is a historical figure who is incredibly polarizing and why.”
Clinton said “there were a lot of humbling moments” during the “around 35 hours of interviewing with Burstein” for the documentary.
“One was the recognition that I have been often, in my view, obviously, mischaracterized, misperceived, and I have to bear a lot of the responsibility for that,” Clinton said. “That whatever the combination of reasons might be, I certainly didn’t do a good enough job to break through a lot of the perceptions that were out there.
“So that was a constant recognition. Because it was quite common for people who knew me, who worked with me, worked for me, were colleagues of all sorts, to shake their heads at the way I was portrayed.
“And I would just kind of blow it off, brush it off, and not think about it. But this process, which was so intense — I mean 35 hours is a lot of time to spend with somebody –and to realize that I’m not any different than I was, but perhaps I could have and should have found ways to better present myself or deal with some of the misperceptions were out there.”
When asked what she could have done to change those misperceptions, Clinton replied, “I don’t know. That’s a very good question. I don’t know.”