THE FINAL YEAR is a unique insiders’ account of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team during their last year in office. Featuring unprecedented access inside the White House and State Department, THE FINAL YEAR offers an uncompromising view of the inner workings of the Obama Administration as they prepare to leave power after eight years.
User Reviews: When evaluating anything of a political nature, the first thing I usually do is throw away any scale ratings of it. Just the sheer fact of Obama’s face being on the thumbnail of this doc will affect opinions, much as, say, current President Trump would for other population segments. As such, I really tried to ignore what I found to be a pretty low rating and just go into "The Final Year" with no expectations at all. What I found was a doc that (smartly) expresses almost no political opinions of its own, and instead basically sets up a camera and lets it roll inside the last year/months of the Obama Administration (focusing on foreign policy).
Besides former President Obama himself, this doc most closely focuses on four members of his admin: John Kerry, Samantha Power, & Ben Rhodes. An insider’s point of view is given on what their day-to-day life entailed in 2016 and how the entire administration really viewed that year as a race to cement the progress they felt they had made over the past seven.
What I found most fascinating about this documentary is how, sheerly because of what immediately follow its events (Donald Trump being elected President), it sets up an interesting contrast between styles. Though Trump’s foreign policy administration is never covered here, it is fairly common knowledge that he proceeds with a much heavier hand than his Democratic successor, favoring threats of military force and personal bluster over in-the-trenches diplomacy. The Obama foreign policy team could not have been more different, as this doc shows how hard they worked (right, wrong, or neither) to patch up old historical wounds and deal with problems via words and accords instead of wars and threats.
Another thing I found to be interesting about "The Final Year" is that it is presented almost completely "without comment", so to speak, by the filmmakers. Never once do we get a moment where they sit down and pontificate on what is transpiring. Even those types of reflections are done on camera by the main subjects being interviewed. In this case, I really like that approach because it doesn’t set out to "prove" or "disprove" anything. This is strictly what it sets out to be: A look inside Obama’s last year as President through the primary lens of his foreign policy decisions & actions…take it or leave it.
I very much enjoyed "The Final Year", but also confess that my political beliefs lean more "blue" than "red" in the first place. However, trying to be objective for a moment, I honestly don’t think there is anything in this doc that is outrageous or untruthful. Whether or not you agree with the ideas being espoused is up to you. The filmmakers are just giving you the option here.