Moynihan

Political noncomformist Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the subject of this mostly conventional documentary, which considers the late senator, ambassador, and sociologist’s enduring influence on American public life. A bold New York Democrat who grew up during the Great Depression and continually reached across race, class, and political party lines, Moynihan was a colorful figure whose story warrants a stylized, even outré depiction. It is unfortunate, then, that codirectors Joseph Dorman and Toby Perl Freilich deliver a staid yet informative rundown of Moynihan’s political maneuvers, skimming the details of the man’s personal life to focus on the impact and prescience of his often unpopular exhortations. Though they succeed in rousing interest and delivering a few gut punches, the filmmakers struggle to justify their choice of a visual medium for their narrative—as opposed to, say, a podcast series. Jeffrey Wright narrates.