MAYOR PETE, the new documentary about the impressive Buttigeieg campaign for president, is a well-made, if standard, political doc. If you followed his campaign, you may already know everything that is revealed here. There aren't any moments we hope for in the best documentaries that reveal unexpected joy, weakness, or fear. Perhaps Pete is not programmed with flaws like that.
Lis Smith, the publicist who engineered the innovative ‘nobody knows who we are so let’s go on every media channel’ strategy that rocketed Pete from unknown mayor into front runner, is seen in exciting bits, where she is blunt, vulgar, and driven.
Chasten, Pete’s husband, is new to politics, and still new to their marriage – only just a year old when Pete brought up the idea of a presidential campaign. Chasten is here see as the kindly challenging and supportive political spouse, but it would have been great to see more of them alone. Their only date – at what looks like a Dairy Queen – is painful.
Sadly, there is virtually no footage of Pete’s speeches, and thus no way to experience the excitement in the crowd watching him.
Pete struck a match that lit the way for many people. Alas, this film did not catch that fire.
I saw MAYOR PETE streaming at Chicago International Film Fest, but it will be arriving on Amazon shortly.