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Michelle Obama’s Becoming: Everything you need to know about new Netflix film

Everything you need to know about the former First Lady's new documentary

Credit: Netflix

It’s been four long years since the Obamas left the White House, but former First Lady Michelle Obama is back on our screens in the new Netflix documentary Becoming.

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The film follows Michelle as she embarks on a 34-city tour to promote her best-selling memoir Becoming, providing a “rare and up-close look at her life” along the way.

With a running time of an hour and a half, viewers are given an “intimate look” into Michelle’s life “during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country,” and her influence as a public figure and role model.

Michelle Obama recounts stories from her eight years as the First Lady of the United States, during which time her husband Barack served as the President from 2009 until 2017.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Michelle opens up about being underestimated at school, her thoughts on President Donald Trump and what it was like raising two daughters – Malia and Sasha – in the White House.

Her 2018 autobiography, Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, sold more copies than any other book published that year in the US. By March 2019, 10 million copies had been sold.

Here’s everything you need to know about the former First Lady’s documentary.

When is Becoming released?

Becoming landed on Netflix on Wednesday 6th May in the UK, US and other countries.

How to watch Becoming?

Becoming is available on Netflix.

Netflix memberships range from £5.99 to £11.99 per month, depending on the quality of your membership. The platform offers a one month free trial, after which users are charged £8.99 a month for the standard subscription.

What do we learn in Becoming?

Although Becoming does not attempt to scrutinise the Obamas’ White House reign (the documentary is produced by Higher Ground Productions – Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company), the film does provide some insight into the former First Lady’s life before, during and after Barack’s presidency.

Michelle, who hails from a “working class community” in the “south side of Chicago”, speaks of how she was told by a guidance councillor in school that she didn’t have what it took to go to Ivy League university Princeton. “She decided I was reaching too high,” she says in the trailer.

Michelle defied her teachers by attending Princeton University in 1981 to study sociology and African-American studies, before earning her postgraduate Law degree at Harvard.

Viewers also learn that Michelle and Barack met at law firm Sidley Austin, when Michelle was assigned to mentor the future President while he was a summer associate. The pair were married in 1992.

Michelle Obama during her school days (Credit: Netflix)
Michelle Obama during her school days (NETFLIX)

Michelle opens up about what it was like for her family at the end of Barack’s presidency, noting that she sobbed for thirty minutes on Airforce One whilst leaving the White House, partly from relief.

She adds that Malia and Sasha wanted to throw a sleepover with their friends during their last night in presidential home, so the next morning was spent frantically cleaning the house with Michelle exclaiming, “Wake up! The Trumps are coming. You gotta get up. Get out!”

The former First Lady also opens up about Donald Trump’s presidency, but not in the way you would expect. Although she notes that sitting on stage at Trump’s inauguration was “painful”, she was mainly disappointed in democratic voters who failed to vote in the 2016 election.

“It takes some energy to go high, and we were exhausted from it,” she says in the documentary. “A lot of our folks didn’t vote. It was almost like a slap in the face”

How do I buy the book?

Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir Becoming is available to buy on Amazon.

Which famous faces make a cameo in the documentary?

Oprah Winfrey interviewing Michelle Obama during the Becoming book tour (Credit: Netflix)
Oprah Winfrey interviewing Michelle Obama during the Becoming book tour (Credit: Netflix)

A number of celebrities appear in the Netflix film, including those who moderated discussion events throughout her book tour.

Her husband, Barack Obama, of course makes a cameo in Becoming, after the former President unexpectedly drops by one of Michelle’s events, while the couple’s eldest daughter also appears in the documentary.

Oprah Winfrey, broadcaster Gayle King, comedian Stephen Colbert, talk show host Conan O’Brien and Reese Witherspoon all feature in the documentary, each of them interviewing Michelle Obama at book tour events across America.

You can read Michelle Obama’s memoir here and listen to it on Audible here.

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Becoming is available to stream on Netflix from Wednesday 6th May. If you’re looking for what to watch next on the streaming giant, check out our round-up of best Netflix TV series