Roseanne Barr is one-of-a-kind. Her breakthrough television series about a working-class family has never left the air and remains fresh and relevant after more than twenty years. And like her same-named character, she has never been shy about expressing her opinions. She is one smart cookie. Who better to run for public office?

This entertaining, often enlightening documentary chronicles her efforts to stage a presidential campaign in 2012. Amidst the possibility of drowning in red tape, she wards off a barrage of slings and arrows and makes an honest effort to shake up the status quo by entering the world of politics.

Although she uses her sharp sense of humor to good effect, this campaign is no joke. Roseanne clearly wants to make a difference. Director Eric Weinrib, who has worked for years with Michael Moore, understands David vs. Goliath endeavors and captures this one with intimacy and candor. That candor extends to Barr’s family, who speak about her lifelong struggle to swim against the tide and remain an individual.

Along the way we get a capsule version of Roseanne’s rags-to-riches career, with well-chosen excerpts from live appearances and television shows.

Roseanne for President! also reveals the nuts and bolts involved in running for the highest office in the land. There is more to it than fundraising and meet-and-greet opportunities. Another less stubborn woman would have thrown in the towel early on, but Roseanne is not one to give up easily. That’s what makes this film both enjoyable and constantly surprising.

Roseanne Barr for President

(Courtesy of IFC Films)

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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April 2024