Obama, The Movie

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

In one of the fly-on-the-wall moments of HBO's upcoming documentary "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama," speech writer Jon Favreau gets an election night call from his boss. After some consultation with Obama about the victory address, Favreau inserts a line about the hard road ahead.

Now, as President Obama's poll numbers fall and he is mired in an uncertain push for health care reform, the scene and the documentary itself may feel like a morale booster to his staff and supporters.

The project, which had its debut screening in Los Angeles on Wednesday, is among the most anticipated of all documentaries from last year because of the access they obtained by directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams and producer Edward Norton.

You see it in the backstage moments, before Obama takes the stage to massive crowd, or in the victory trek that David Axelrod and David Plouffe take from the Chicago headquarters to the candidate's election night hotel suite, where there is a brief glimpse inside.

This documentary isn't "The War Room," D.A. Pennebaker's 1993 documentary about the Clinton campaign that focused almost exclusively on George Stephanopoulos and James Carville. "By the People" is less expose and more historical record, capturing the campaign from start to finish and most often in a positive light.

"Our intent was never to try to make an expose per se," Norton said after the screening. "I think it was always to make a document of what the internal reality of the movement was."

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