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By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009)

Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency, two filmmakers began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, across the USA, the daily events of the presidential campaign are chronicled.

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Neil Abercrombie ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
David Axelrod ...
Himself - Chief Campaign Strategist
Bill Ayers ...
Himself (archive footage)
Melissa Bean ...
Herself (archive footage)
...
Herself
...
Himself - Democrat Vice-Presidential Candidate
Mike Blake ...
Himself - Iowa Political Director
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Ronnie Cho ...
Himself - Organizer
...
Herself - Democrat Candidate (as Hillary Rodham Clinton)
...
Himself (as James E. Clyburn)
Candy Crowley ...
Herself - HSCNN
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Storyline

In 2006, Barack Obama -- a largely unknown freshman senator from Illinois -- hits the campaign trail in a struggle to gain national recognition. Cameras follow Obama as he recovers from nearly losing to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and meets the challenge of his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, in the general election. After a hard-fought campaign, Obama successfully captures the nation's imagination, becoming the first African-American president in U.S. history. Written by Jwelch5742

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The Election of Barack Obama

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7 August 2009 (USA)  »

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By the People  »

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A Waste of Hollywood Talent
2 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

By the People: the Election of Barack Obama, released in 2009 shortly before the presidential election, falls somewhere in between political propaganda and an amateur film diary. Directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, produced by actor Edward Norton, this HBO documentary presents a one-dimensional view of the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Given that 98% of Hollywood is liberal, it was inevitable that a movie about Barack Obama would be made…but couldn't By the People at least be entertaining or enlightening? Apparently, Rice, Sams, and Norton, et al, didn't think so. With unlimited funds and talent at their disposal, People boils down to a tunnel view of the campaign, and its supporting cast of star-struck campaign workers, mainstream media, and huge crowds of enthusiasts.

At the forefront is Obama, who appears to play to the camera like a star-struck kid, enjoying every moment of the branding that is Mr. O. The "behind-the-scenes" glimpses are just as carefully staged as Candidate Obama's many appearances, staff conferences, and his off-hand comments such as, "I love elections, they're so much fun!". No – really! The film lacks any narrative style – and any narration, for that matter - and the audience is left to plow through almost two hours of wall-to-wall film footage of this sticky-sweet homage to the perfect Liberal candidate. Without showing the reality that goes into every political campaign or exploring Obama's crafted image, By the People comes off as a back-handed tribute to Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will's cinematic design.

A year later and OHLand can't help but wonder if Rice, Sams, and Norton, now well-tempered by time and stark reality, would package their product a bit differently.

Ah, being liberals, probably not.


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