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Movie Reviews

‘Mayor Pete’ review: A political documentary for the times

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Mayor Pete is a look at the contentious 2020 Democratic political primaries. It specifically focuses on the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg. In his journey to become the youngest President of the United States, the (SPOILER ALERT) first openly LGBTQ Cabinet member in United States history must navigate the changes necessary to hold the highest office in the country.

One of the reasons that Buttigieg captured the imagination of the country was his winsome personality. This is showcased in Mayor Pete almost to a fault. The film is more about the character behind the politics rather than actual political stances. (This may be more of a commentary on the current state of America, with former President Donald Trump being the prime example.) It makes for a person that is easy to get behind, but only gives an idea as to what they believe.

This approach will make Mayor Pete more appealing to those who only have a passing interest in politics. There is not the cynicism or bitterness seen in other political documentaries (or even in Veep, for that matter.) It is as easy going as its subject and going in too deep risks alienating audiences. That being said, the film has no problem taking potshots at the other Democratic candidates.

Ultimately, this may be what the film is attempting to accomplish. Many times, it comes across as an extended campaign ad. This does not negatively impact Mayor Pete since the tone is consistent the entire time, but it is noticable. By having a lower barrier of entry, it also potentially introduces more people to Buttigieg who may end up supporting him in his future endeavors.

This does not mean Mayor Pete is completely devoid of any true value. On the contrary, it can be very entertaining. There is an authenticity to Buttigieg that even comes through in the carefully crafted scenes and it is always interesting to see an underdog story. There is not any deep political discourse, but in this day and age, that is probably a good thing.

Mayor Pete comes to Amazon Prime November 12

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