Nick Broomfield's Sarah Palin documentary, "You Betcha!," which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, will face the same hurdles that its reverential counterpart, "The Undefeated" faced at the box office: If Palin doesn't run for president, is there an audience that will still care?
Palin has given few indications that she will get in the race, and time is running short, so the challenge will be an audience who is still curious, even though her fame has been scrutinized from all corners. "The Undefeated" depended on an enthusiastic base turning out to buy tickets, but it has grossed just over $116,000 domestically as it moved quickly to home viewing via on demand.
Even Broomfield doesn't think her long-term political prospects are great, but he tells the Guardian that the project still stands on its own as "an accurate portrait of a rightwing politician from a fundamentalist community."
"Personally I don't think she really has anywhere to go now," Broomfield says. "She might well run for president but I don't think she's going to get an nomination."
The pic chronicles Broomfield's efforts to get an interview with Palin even though she told him she'd be up for a sitdown. Instead, he speaks to all sorts of Palin friends (or ex-friends) and associates and even her father, painting what is an unflattering look at the former Alaska governor. In his interview with the Guardian, he reveals what may be one of the more revelatory moments.
"Palin is very good at whipping a crowd up in basic emotions; she wears the right gear and she's this earth-mother figure. Even if a lot of what she says doesn't make sense, she says it with a lot of rah-rah-rah. Her legislative director said to me: 'She's great in a crowd of 10 to 100,000. It's in a room with two other people that she's got real problems.'"
Variety gave the project lukewarm reviews, with Variety's Rob Nelson writing that it "shovels enough dirt on the Tea Party guru and self-described hockey mom to satisfy her haters, but lacks sufficient humor and insight to make it a must-see for anyone outside the Brit muckraker's fan base."