TV Review: ‘The Clinton Affair’

Variety | 11/16/2018 | Daniel D'Addario
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Earlier this year, Bill Clinton undertook a publicity tour — his first in some time disconnected from his wife’s political career, and one designed to promote a thriller novel he’d co-written with James Patterson. But what perhaps was meant as the 42nd president’s sprightly display of charisma and distraction from the news generated by the 45th quickly became something for which he was, strangely, hardly prepared. Faced with questions about his treatment of White House intern Monica Lewinsky, he bobbled them badly, seeming defensive and aggressive, unwilling to let in any point-of-view other than his own narrative in which he’d long since been forgiven.

It was the sort of reckoning that has been a long time coming, first because of an ongoing revolution spurred on by movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, and second because of our culture’s sudden interest in relitigating events of the 1990s. That latter motive is demonstrated by A&E’s new six-part documentary, “The Clinton Affair,” a panoramic look at Clinton’s dalliance with Lewinsky and the manner in which it led to his impeachment. While the documentary gives Lewinsky a meaningful say, it’s missing the sort of editorial eye one might expect from a film produced at a moment in which our culture finally seems ready to evaluate Clinton without falling for his charisma.

Film - Review - II

Film Review: 'Creed II'

This docuseries is a step forward; it uses the tools of the historian, patiently working the facts of a still-familiar story to draw out its portrait of a moment. Its format, though, feels at times a bit stale. Following a crisply edited narrative from Clinton’s election through early scandal and government shutdown towards Lewinsky, the film treads well-known ground. This tale is certainly a remarkable one, culminating in Lewinsky’s practically being held hostage by the FBI in a hotel, but years on...
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