A few days after Super Tuesday — and a day after another female presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, dropped out of the 2020 race — Hillary Clinton’s intimate four-hour docuseries is now on Hulu.
“Hillary,” which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, dives into Clinton’s rise to becoming one of the biggest names in the political world — a name that is simultaneously admired and vilified, Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior policy adviser during the 2016 election, says in the series.
After the series’ world premiere in Park City, Utah, Clinton said filming — which took place for 35 hours over seven days — was “exhausting and very overwhelming from time to time.”
“You sit in that chair, you’ve told the filmmaker, ‘Yeah, nothing’s off limits, you can ask me anything you want,’ and she does!” Clinton said. “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”
Clinton had nearly 2,000 hours of campaign footage after the 2016 election. But “Hillary” is about much more than the presidential election Clinton said made her “sick to my stomach.”
The docuseries weaves the campaign footage into a life story that covers everything from Clinton’s conservative upbringing in a Chicago suburb to meeting husband Bill Clinton at Yale Law School to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky to Hillary Clinton’s candid disregard for current presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Here’s a rundown of the four-part series.
Part 1: ‘Golden Girl’
Covers everything from Clinton’s childhood to going to Yale Law School and meeting Bill Clinton
- Begins with Clinton launching her presidential campaign and then delves into her conservative upbringing in Chicago (she supported Barry Goldwater in 1964).
- Clinton jokes that to rebel against her parents, she would tell them that she would marry a Democrat one day.
- Clinton attends Wellesley College, an all-girls’ liberal arts college in Massachusetts. She gives the first-ever student commencement speech in 1969 — what the series calls her “first brush with notoriety and fame.”
- In the speech, she goes off script, first responding to speaker U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke’s remarks about political activism. A 21-year-old taking on a senator makes headlines, and her speech is picked up by many publications, including the Boston Globe.
- Clinton attends law school at Yale, where she is one of 27 women.
- She meets husband Bill Clinton in a civil rights class at Yale. “I just found her magnetic,” Bill Clinton says of his wife.
- Clinton graduates from Yale and begins working as a young lawyer in Washington, where she helps investigate the Watergate scandal.
- In 1974, Clinton says she “followed my heart to Arkansas,” joining Bill Clinton. In Arkansas, she teaches criminal law and procedure and eventually becomes the state’s first lady.
- As the first lady of Arkansas, Clinton is scrutinized for having a full-time job and keeping her last name.
Part 2: ‘Becoming a Lady’
Covers everything from Clinton’s present-day thoughts on Sanders to Clinton becoming the first lady of the United States
- We see more recent campaign footage here, and Clinton talks more about image. She says she spent a total of 25 days doing hair and makeup on the 2016 campaign trail.
- Clinton clearly doesn’t like Sanders. At one point she says: “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
- Clinton is the first first lady of the United States to have an office in the West Wing and, later, the first first lady to run for public office.
- She takes on running health care reform during her husband’s presidency. She says in “Hillary” that she shouldn’t have taken on the lead role: “I should not have done that. I just created too much static.”
- “My bluntness, my outspokenness, my pushback, all of that creates cognitive dissonance in people,” Clinton says.
Part 3: ‘The Hardest Decision’
Covers Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky
- Clinton says people view her as cold, calculated and having no emotion — an image that often circulated throughout the 2016 election.
- Of Donald Trump: “He entered the campaign with so much negative energy, so much vitriol. … He clearly felt comfortable attacking women.”
- The series goes back to January 1998, when Bill Clinton’s affair with his then-intern Lewinsky began dominating the news.
- “I was just devastated. I could not believe it,” Hillary Clinton says.
- Hillary Clinton said she didn’t want anything to do with Bill Clinton. During this time, the former secretary of state said her daughter, Chelsea, would stand between her parents and hold their hands. “She was filling in our empty space there,” Hillary Clinton says.
- A visibly emotional Bill Clinton is interviewed, saying that Lewinsky’s life has been unfairly defined by the affair. “Over the years I’ve watched her try to get a normal life again,” he says.
- “He shouldn’t have done what he did, he shouldn’t have tried to hide it, but it was not an impeachable offense,” Clinton says.
- Clinton says she knows her decision to stay with her husband didn’t sit well with many, but she stands by it.
- “I was so grateful she thought we still had enough to stick it out,” Bill Clinton says.
Part 4: ‘Be Our Champion, Go Away’
Covers election night, Clinton’s loss to Trump
- The series is largely a flattering, one-sided portrayal — the only conservative voice is former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist. But it does dive into the scandals that have marred the Clintons’ careers — like Whitewater, emails and Benghazi.
- “Even when something is disproved, people remember that the allegation was made,” Clinton says.
- The series shifts to election night, when a somber Clinton appears to be fighting back tears during her concession speech.
- “I’ve been in lots of elections, and I didn't see this coming,” Clinton says. “It was just like a death.”
- But “Hillary” ends with a more hopeful tone, showing how Clinton’s loss has triggered a new feminist movement — from the Women’s March to record-breaking numbers of females elected in the 2018 midterm elections.
- “At the end of the day, I’ve loved and been loved, and all the rest is background music,” Clinton says in “Hillary.” “I have no regrets.”