How many times have you watched images from of any given leader of the free world and wondered how such beautiful, poignant, personal moments were frozen and captured with just a few clicks. Pete Souza is the photojournalist responsible for so many of those pictures – the fun, empathetic fathers and human beings faced with the undoubting task of keeping an entire country safe from harm. Its’s an image that our current administration could definitely grab a lesson or two built with the conscious and self-conscious mindset of a presidency through photographs.
Based on the New York Times #1 bestseller, The Way I See It, is an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two iconic Presidents in American History, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned official White House photographer Pete Souza. Audiences get a birds-eye view to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful person on Earth.
This is hands down Dawn Porter’s best work. Her discerning eye, ability to convey a full-circle unbiased point of view are qualities that make her an exceptional filmmaker. More importantly, she allows Souza to candidly express working in a White House under two completely different administrations. He aides us in understanding that Reagan and Obama’s differences and commonality was they understood the sanctity of their duties and put America first.
From a young man who toured the White House to becoming one of its official photographers was a dream come true, but when retirement called Souza gleefully admitted not missing having a Blackberry glued to his palm 24/7. His wealth of stories feels like an oral Presidential genealogical journey into a world most will never get to experience. Moments like First Lady Nancy Reagan summoning you aboard a plane one last time to capture images of her beloved, the evolution of the Obama daughters from mischievous little girls to gorgeous young women. But, two that gutted me, was being reminded of the Sandy Hook conference from the press room, where a visibly shaken Commander-in-Chief flicked tears from his eyes demonstrating empathetic strength under one of the most challenging moments of his tenure. Making angels in the snow with his angelic daughters as Aloe Blac serenades softly with ‘Snow Angel’ tipped me over the edge into the ugly cry.
There is no substitute for empathy or common decency. Now, more than ever, Americans need to wake up to the reality of how important it is to have the right person sitting in the Oval. Fed up, like most, with the lies and deceit, Souza used the only weapon he knew in order to speak on his frustration via social media.
Educational, revelatory, comical and heartwarming make up the political cinematic joy of The Way I See It and blatantly conveys to its audience that there are two different Americas – Donald Trump vs Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter, etc… The future belongs to us if we choose to exercise our basic right to vote. Trust me Souza, Im right behind you in ‘throwing shade’ and thank goodness you did! Produced by Laura Dern, Evan Hayes, Jayme Lemon and director Dawn Porter, Focus Features drops The Way I See It on September 18.