One Bright Shining Moment

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Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed was a stimulating account of the late Shirley Chisholm’s historic campaign as the first black woman to run for the Presidency of the United States. That picture was fascinating because of all its compelling behind-the-scenes footage which revealed the Brooklyn Congresswoman to be a brilliant, uncompromising force for minorities and women.

By contrast, One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern revisits the same election year to focus on the failed effort of the eventual Democratic Party-nominee to unseat incumbent Richard Nixon. The problem with this political bio-pic is that its subject, the straitlaced ex-Senator from South Dakota isn’t a particularly charismatic figure, unlike the fiery Chisholm or the fidgety Secretary of Defense McNamara who was the focus of The Fog of War.

In fact, McGovern comes off, here, as an opportunist, a compromise candidate that neither the anti-war movement nor Middle-America was truly enchanted with. Narrated by NPR’s Amy Goodman, the film features nostalgic remembrances by Dick Gregory, Gary Hart, Gloria Steinem, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, and other notables of the era.

An uninspired documentary which is informative but simply doesn’t generate enough juice to justify a revisit to McGovern‘s Summer of ’72.

Good (2 stars)
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 125 minutes
Studio: First Run Features

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