A new documentary that follows Michelle Obama on her recent book tour for her memoir “Becoming” will debut on Netflix on May 6 from the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, the streaming service announced Monday.
Nadia Hallgren (“She’s the Ticket”) is directing the documentary, also titled “Becoming,” that gives an intimate look into the life of the former First Lady as she embarks on a 34-city tour, speaking with communities of all backgrounds across the country and how she’s charting her path after life in the White House.
“Becoming” is part of Barack and Michelle Obama’s production deal with Netflix. The previous film their Higher Ground banner produced, “American Factory,” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Netflix also unveiled a first-look clip of “Becoming,” in which Obama answers a question about how she’s transitioning from public life and what she wants to do with her life all over again.
“It’s all different, and it’s different forever. It’s not getting back on track but it’s figuring out, what’s the next track,” Obama says in the clip to a group of students. “I’m doing what you’re doing, I’m figuring out, what do I care about, and it takes time to process your life and figure out what it all means. So little of who I am happened in those eight years, so much more of who I was happened before.”
Obama wrote a note accompanying the announcement of “Becoming,” which you can read in full below:
I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release “Becoming,” a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir.
Those months I spent traveling — meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe — drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with. In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams. We processed the past and imagined a better future. In talking about the idea of ‘becoming,’ many of us dared to say our hopes out loud.
I treasure the memories and that sense of connection now more than ever, as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion, and uncertainty.
It’s hard these days to feel grounded or hopeful, but I hope that like me, you’ll find joy and a bit of respite in what Nadia has made. Because she’s a rare talent, someone whose intelligence and compassion for others comes through in every frame she shoots. Most importantly, she understands the meaning of community, the power of community, and her work is magically able to depict it.
As many of you know, I’m a hugger. My whole life, I’ve seen it as the most natural and equalizing gesture one human can make toward another — the easiest way of saying, “I’m here for you.” And this is one of the toughest parts of our new reality: Things that once felt simple — going to see a friend, sitting with someone who is hurting, embracing someone new — are now not simple at all.
But I’m here for you. And I know you are here for one another. Even as we can no longer safely gather or feed off the energy of groups, even as many of us are living with grief, loneliness, and fear, we need to stay open and able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Empathy is our lifeline here. It’s what will get us to the other side. Let’s use it to redirect our attention toward what matters most, reconsider our priorities, and find ways to better remake the world in the image of our hopes.
Even in hard times, maybe especially in hard times, our stories help cement our values and strengthen our connections. Sharing them shows us the way forward. I love and miss you all.
“Becoming” debuts on May 6.