The Final Year

Produced by HBO, this documentary by Greg Barker (Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden) focuses on President Obama’s much-derided State Department during the last year of his presidency. It’s a tightly controlled account that still feels like the inside dope—the sort of thing the administration orchestrated beautifully—and the arbitrary time frame forces Barker into a ceaseless chronology of foreign trips that frustrates any serious consideration of the team’s successes (in Cuba and Iran) or failures (in Syria). Along the way we’re reintroduced to the unbearably dour secretary of state, John Kerry; the unbearably passionate U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power; and other Obama true believers, the most devoted of which, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, keeps insisting that Donald Trump can’t win the presidency.