Words In The Moment: Our Review of ‘The Way I See It’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2020 by - September 17, 2020
Words In The Moment: Our Review of ‘The Way I See It’

Sometimes you just have to have a message…

While it’s got its obvious political leanings, The Way I See It mostly manages to remove itself from any kind of partisanship and remind us of the core values of the highest office in the land.

Based on the New York Times #1 bestseller The Way I See It is an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in American History, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As Official White House Photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful person on Earth. The movie reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people.

Make no mistake about, political documentaries always have an agenda, but it’s not what you’d think here with The Way I See It.  This is a film that actually manages to stay (mostly) bi-partisan as it’s telling us its story, which is what helps it have that much more of an emotional impact.

Director Dawn Porter knows her way around the Washington scene and really has herself the kind of subject that documentarians would drool over.

There’s no question that this film is not something for fans of the current President of the United States but what Porter and her subject in Pete Souza have done is give us something that is both reflective, funny and little sad because they aren’t talking about policy, but rather are focusing on people and the human empathy it takes to work in the halls of power.

Souza mastered the art of being a fly on the wall through multiple administrations and we get to see him recount his time in the halls of power getting a firsthand look at how people in the office of president are supposed to act.  First with Reagan and then with Obama we see real insight at some of the inner workings of how these unique people interact with others in the most common of moments and in the starkest of national crisis’.

As the film goes on, its political leanings are obvious, but the thing that makes this movie refreshing is that it’s talking about the spirit of the office and reflecting on what it once was and god willing will be once again.  When we see Souza who in his job as a photo journalist has been training to be bi-partisan talk about his activity on Instagram letting his past photos of the Obama administration speak volumes about what is going on currently with the Trump administration we see an evolution in someone who spent his life not having any opinion about anything to morally being thrust into giving a voice to how frustrated so many people out there feel.

What Porter really captures is an amazing journey of a man who captures moments and how they can translate across years and be applicable to so many different moments in our lives.  No matter your personal or political leanings, it’s the moments that speak volumes.  The Way I See It gets political but for the human reasons, which is what makes it so damn memorable.

The Way I See It just played TIFF and is in theatres tomorrow…

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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