1 May 2017 | zkonedog
More Of An Interview Than A Documentary
The first thing that needs to be said about "41" is that it is more of an extended interview than a documentary. The interviewer uses photographs and video to cover all the areas of George Herbert Walker Bush's life, from childhood to the Presidency and beyond. "Poppy" himself chimes in on all the important milestones.
Some will like this approach, while others will not. I tend to prefer a more documentary style approach (where other opinions besides those of the subject him/her self are examined), which is why "41" won't get a higher star rating from me. One has to remember while watching this that these are just the opinions of President Bush about his life. While his former Presidency and accomplishments gives him the platform, there are other interpretations of his Presidency that are not covered here.
Another thing that tends to hurt this film is that President Bush is not an overtly emotional man whatsoever. Even talking about his children, for instance, almost no visible emotion is ever seen from the man. Perhaps an admirable character trait in life ("keeping an even keel"), but it doesn't "play well" in terms of emotion for a project like this.
I can still consider "41" a decent watch, however, because of the fact that President Bush is such a genuine figure in terms of recounting his life. Basically, he seems like a good guy. Do I share many of his political or even personal views? Certainly not. But I also can't help but admire a guy who has such zest and zeal for life even at such an advanced age. Even though his convictions may differ some from my own, he seems so strong and genuine in those convictions that I have little to no bad things to say about the man.
As such, "41" is not the most exciting (nor certainly the most emotional) documentary you'll ever watch, but for President buffs it will contain some interesting information and recollections. Casual historians will likely get a little bored, but those with a passion for either the man or Presidential politics in general will tune in for the duration.