THE PLOT THUS FAR
A documentary that weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” is probably one of the best Ken Burns modern documentaries. Over the course of 14 hours, I found myself returning to a time in America that has long since past. Whether it’s the inspirational Depression Era tales of Franklin, the diplomatic compassion of Eleanor or the ribaldry of outdoorsman Teddy; these people have turned a family into a dynasty. Everything from The New Deal to the defeat of Hitler is covered. What makes this documentary so essential is the focus on how the Roosevelts changed the relationship between government and the citizenry. While the vile Republicans want to suggest that Big Government is wrong, FDR and Teddy used the government as a safe check against the greed and inequity of business.
The split focus between Eleanor, Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt would hurt most documentaries. However, the masterful narration of Meryl Streep, Edward Herrmann and Paul Giamatti keep the documentary on task. If this isn’t Emmy bait for next year, then I don’t know what it is. Seriously, I don’t. Television confuses the hell out of me anymore. While the Teddy stuff covers a lot of known ground and will be familiar to fans of the Rough Rider, there was something I enjoyed more about FDR. The amount of time spent on showing how Teddy took care of the orphaned Eleanor and introducing her to FDR was amazing. I had never seen the level of detail in FDR and Eleanor’s courtship and early marriage before. That is one of many things to discover in this documentary and I don’t want to deprive any of you of that opportunity.
The Blu-Ray comes with deleted scenes, bonus videos and a featurette as the special features. The A/V Quality is amazing for such a lengthy documentary. The 1080p transfer pops even in archival footage. The same goes for the Dolby 5.1 track, even though it’s lossy. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 09/16/2014