Washington, D.C. is often described as Hollywood for ugly people. This may be true for politicians who lack charisma. The recently released HBO documentary “Pelosi in the House,” directed by Alexandra Pelosi, demonstrates that this stereotype does not apply to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In this 145-minute documentary, Nancy Pelosi, 82, who recently announced her resignation as House Speaker, immediately captures your attention.
Pelosi is captivating whether she is at home doing laundry during a (remote) meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence, dancing with one of her grandchildren, or walking through the Capitol (stilettos clicking).
She is an exceptional vote counter, fundraiser, campaigner, and party leader, and she also fights sexism and the glass ceiling. In addition, she looks fantastic in a red coat, sunglasses, or pyjamas.
Those who are passionate about politics will like this documentary. You will undoubtedly be disappointed if you want an intimate glimpse into Pelosi’s psyche.
It is difficult to imagine a more consistent LGBTQ ally than Pelosi (D-Calif.). Pelosi has been a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community, beginning with her 1987 speech on AIDS and through to her important involvement in the passing of the Respect for Marriage Act.
Pelosi oversaw the enactment of numerous laws over her decades of service, most notably the Affordable Care Act.
Alexandra Pelosi, one of Nancy Pelosi’s five children, says to her mother in “Pelosi in the House”: “You’re a tough nut to crack.”
Alexandra Pelosi attempts to keep up with her mother as she speeds through the Capitol, reminding Democrats who refuse to vote for Obamacare that there are no “free passes” and advising Barack Obama (then president) not to “move too far to the left.”
However, Alexandra Pelosi’s skill as a filmmaker does not aid her in deciphering her mother. Nancy Pelosi is observed dancing with a grandson and searching for a birthday card for a granddaughter. The Speaker is committed to her family despite being completely preoccupied by her career. You get the impression that Pelosi has thoughts about life — her family, etc. — but she does not disclose them. Not even to her daughter.
“If that’s what you want to do,” the Speaker tells her daughter, a filmmaker who is attempting to crack her veneer, “crack your mother.”
There is no question that Alexandra Pelosi adores her mother. She is not, however, a partisan filmmaker. “Pelosi in the House” is her fourteenth documentary for HBO.
Her documentary “Journeys with George” is about the 18 months she spent as an NBC News producer covering George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. The film was nominated for six Emmy awards.
Her further projects include “Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi” on evangelical Christians and “Outside the Bubble” about Trump supporters. Contrary to expectations, these documentaries are not smear campaigns.
Alexandra Pelosi is not a conservative. However, her videos about evangelicals and Trump voters are informative rather than denigrating.
“Pelosi in the House” does not reveal the inner life of Nancy Pelosi. However, it is revealing for everyone who cares about politics and democracy.
The film, shot in cinema verite format, provides a look at vote counting and negotiations from behind the scenes. There are moments of profundity. Scenes of Nancy Pelosi and George W. Bush, as well as Pelosi on the phone with John McCain, remind us of a time when politicians viewed one another as fellow human beings, as opposed to vilified adversaries.
The final half-hour of “Pelosi in the House” is disturbing because it depicts Nancy Pelosi in the midst of the January 6 Capitol uprising.
This tape was exhibited at the committee hearings on January 6. But when you see it on film, it hits you in the solar plexus how close our democracy came to collapsing.
Hitchcock could not have imagined anything more terrifying than the Capitol riot. Or more diabolical than the recent violent attack on the husband of Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi has been the target of death threats and violent right-wing advertisements. In the documentary, Nancy Pelosi states that being Speaker makes you a target for “sometimes violence and sometimes mockery.”
She warns, “It’s not for the faint of heart.”
Pelosi in the House is a compelling must-watch.