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The Story of Us: A Presidential Legacy of Roads Less Traveled

March 25, 2012

Narrated by Tom Hanks “The Road We’ve Traveled” paints a fairly bleak picture of the country during the Obama presidency. The 17-minute film doesn’t offer the kinds of hopeful and enduringly optimistic message we’re used to. Instead of painting a rosy picture it offers a muted account President accomplishments while it suggests we avoided the worst of the crises.

Directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, who made “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman” the short film explored the most important decisions taken by the administration. It begins with first post-election shots of a euphoric world of euphoric crowds and the Obama families are replaced from one minute to the next by images of Wall Street in meltdown. Intercepted with photos of one catastrophe after another are still photographs of Mr. Obama in the White House looking somber in the growing crisis.

“Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president,” Tom Hanks, narrates. “And when he faced his country, who looked to him for answers, he would not dwell in blame or dreamy idealism.”

As it continues on the film makes the case for bailouts and health care reform with images of autoworkers going back on the job and voters beaming over their medical insurance coverage.

The portrait has been criticized as an entirely positive account of Mr. Obama, not surprising since Guggenheim is a vocal supporter of the President.

Towards its conclusion it reminds viewers to not only remember how far we’ve come, but also to “look forward to the work still to be done.” Even “The Road We’ve Traveled” seems to suggest we’ve yet to see morning.

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