TV Review: ‘Inside Bill’s Brain’

Variety | 9/17/2019 | Daniel D'Addario
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A certain type of documentary has grown in prevalence and popularity lately — the piece that marshals evidence in service of the case that a very widely known contemporary figure is actually even greater than one had previously thought. The vogue began in summer 2018 with the features “RBG” (about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (about children’s television personality Fred Rogers) and has continued with documentaries about figures as varied as Toni Morrison, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Luciano Pavarotti — and now, in Netflix’s three-episode documentary series “Inside Bill’s Brain,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Shepherded by Davis Guggenheim (an Oscar-winner for “An Inconvenient Truth”), we’re walked through the tech founder and humanitarian’s personal history in a manner that grows stultifying the more praise gets ladled on. It’s not that Gates’s current endeavors don’t merit attention and applause: It’s that very little in human experience merits quite so uncritical a gaze.

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TV Review: 'Inside Bill's Brain'

This latest entry in the celebrity-hagiography file has all the hallmarks of its genre. We are given the appearance of access to a figure more iconic than deeply known, both through archival footage and through interviews. Friends and contemporaries show up to deliver testimonials. And there’s a big, underlined theme: That Gates’s brain, per the title, is a unique and precious thing we are lucky to have in our time, even if understanding its workings is a bit beyond us.

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A lot of the work towards that theme is tiresome and, frankly, a bit unbecoming as a way to depict a very successful person in his 60s. A fellow credited onscreen as a former marketing director of Microsoft tells us that “he reads really fast and synthesizes really well. The most amazing thing is, he...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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