“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” – Michelle Obama
Becoming is a memoir of the former United States First Lady, Michelle Obama. The movie features a rare and intimate look in the life of Mrs Obama. “This is totally me, unplugged, for the first time,“ she says.
Michelle Obama has always been an inspiration to people of her community and to anyone who dares to dream higher than what society allows. Her journey from just a citizen to the First Lady is remarkable. She talks about how it was difficult for her to adapt to the sudden change. She attributes her confidence to her parents, who allowed her to ask questions and always made her feel visible. “We can’t afford to wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen,” she says.
Becoming carries no big revelations. Nothing you haven’t heard and seen before. Through small footages of her book tour across countries and student interaction, we come across Mrs Obama’s life and experiences. Her off-stage preparations and the memories of her childhood, the warmth with which she carries her relations with everyone is beautiful.
She openly talks about the racial discrimination she faced throughout her life. Whether it was in her neighbourhood, school, workplace or being the First Lady. The honour of being the first black family to occupy the White House was a big responsibility. However, the racial stigma never left her side. Even their love was associated with the race they belonged to. She recalls that people expected her and Barack to fall in love as they belonged to the same race. They said, “You two love each other, don’t you? You’re black, he’s black. This will be great.” However, the way she overcame everything is commendable and empowering.
“I am coming down from the mountaintop to tell every person that is poor and working-class and has been told, regardless of the colour of your skin, that you don’t belong, don’t listen to them.” – Michelle Obama
The highs and the lows
Everything comes at a cost. No matter how appealing the position of the First Lady looks from the outside, it is a difficult place to be. She was called “an angry black woman” and everything she said was criticized and read between the lines.
When she left the White House, after 8 years of serving her country, she could not shed a tear in public because of the misinterpretations that may follow. It was an emotional moment but she couldn’t let her guard down. She also talks about politics and the difficulties they faced. She says:
– “It wasn’t just in this election, but every midterm. Every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up.”
–“After all that work, they just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all.“
Along with all the criticism and difficulties came immense love and support from people too. After all, the Obamas are praiseworthy. The love she gets from people while she signs their copies of the book is heartfelt and pure. She says, “those eight years weren’t for nothing.”
Becoming is in no way is an attack on Trump and is said to be ‘bland’ by many critics. It’s about Michelle and her journey. She is a proud mother and has raised her children in ways I didn’t expect. Despite all the luxuries, she taught her girls to be self-dependent. She does not identify herself just as the former First Lady, she is more than that. She says that her journey started way before anyone knew her.
Towards the end, there is an appearance of Mr. Barack Obama, where he is seen supporting her wife in her venture and he says “You’re a good storyteller” and honestly, I can’t deny.
Becoming is one of the best things I’ve seen in 2020. It isn’t exactly ‘candid’ but can it ever be? The personality of Michelle Obama comes up as kind and loving and headstrong which is inspiring.
‘Becoming’ is streaming now on Netflix