In his latest documentary, Ken Burns exhaustively walks us through what felt like the longest Presidency in recent national history. In seven discs, totalling fifteen hours, we get to experience, once again, the journey from the Trump Administration’s controversial beginnings to its embarrassing final moments.
Here’s what critics and viewers are saying:
“Experiencing the Trump Presidency firsthand was traumatizing enough. I’m not sure why anyone would want to watch this. I actually had to get up and take Tums four times during the first two discs, and then I turned it off. Burns is a great documentarian, but I don’t understand why he thought this should be made.”—the Village Voice
“This perfectly captured what being an American under the Trump Administration was like. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have stricken the Presidency from memory, this documentary will be great for reminding you of the importance of voting. But you’ll have to borrow your copy from someone else, because I already threw mine in the garbage. No—don’t bother looking in the bin. I took it out to the curb and waited to see it get loaded into the truck this morning. I’m safe now. I’m finally safe. The DVDs are far away from me.”—The Atlantic
“You won’t learn anything new from this documentary. It’s mostly just a rehashing of everything we survived, which seems sort of counterproductive at this point. Additionally, the bonus feature with the extra material about Mike Pence is just weird and unsettling. —Rolling Stone
“Gary Busey was a great choice for narrator to set up the anxiety and instability of that era. You can tell he ad-libbed quite a bit, but it really works here. Every time he broke into those screeches for no reason, it seemed to accent the narrative perfectly.”—the Washington Post
“This simply is not the sort of thing our country needs right now.”—Oprah Winfrey
“I played this over the course of two weeks for the high-school history class I teach. But I’ll probably go back to the Civil War documentary next year, because it’s more uplifting.”—Richard Murray, Vermont
“I voted for Trump, so my adult kids got me this as a birthday present, thinking I’d enjoy it. It made me sad.”—Tom Barkley, Nebraska
“I kept being, like, ‘Oh, my God. Why isn’t anybody stopping him?’ But then I’d remember it’s about actual events that really happened and go take some pills to calm down.”—Ariana Rosetti, California
“I liked it when he got caught in the end.”—Joey, age six, Maryland
“Great buildup. You just know it’s not going to end well. I loved that they included that incident with all the Twinkies. It was exactly how I imagined it looking. Just complete and utter chaos.”—Jeff Sanderson, Connecticut
“I like to play this DVD on the TV in my bar because my customers end up drinking a lot more.”—Curtis Ledger, Texas
“Really, really disturbing. But, if this is the closest I’ll get to actually witnessing the moment he was dragged out from under the Resolute Desk by the Feds, then it’s well worth it.”—Sharla Linquist, Michigan
“Someone I know is now divorced because he got this documentary as a gag gift for his spouse.”—Anonymous
“I found this movie really unrealistic. No developed country would ever allow this sort of thing to happen.”—Miss Teen U.S.A.