This Roseanne Barr Documentary Makes Us Long For Her TV Comeback

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.
Pictured: Barr's campaign manager, Farheen, leads the charge.
Let's get this out of the way: Roseanne Barr is a terrible politician. She doesn't attend meetings or campaign events, choosing to speak to voters over Skype from her Hawaiian macadamia nut farm. She dozes off before a debate. Her platform is vague, and at one point includes an argument to bring back the guillotine. She puts her campaign in the hands of a Minnesota woman who drives off the road while conducting radio interviews from behind the wheel, and she nearly saws her thumb off while making campaign signs. She bad-mouths her Green Party opponent, Jill Stein, on camera. She doesn't understand why people wouldn't automatically vote for a famous person who was on TV, but in the end doesn't even cast her vote for herself. She votes for Obama.

All of this is documented in hilarious detail in Roseanne for President!, a documentary from IFC Films about Barr's 2012 presidential campaign. The film, which premieres in theaters and online today (July 1), follows the Emmy-winning actress as she vies for the Green Party nomination opposite party favorite Jill Stein. When that fails, she moves on to the Peace and Freedom Party, securing their nomination and ultimately receiving 61,971 votes in the general election.

As a politician, Barr is her trademark brash and outspoken self, airing her views while smoking a joint as she drives. She doesn't like shaking hands, and is prone to foul-mouthed personal attacks on Stein. She sees Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart as "token" figures promoted by the liberal media. She's frustrated that her fame hasn't propelled her to political glory. But there's a softness, too, most evident in her playful banter with her grandson, her teary conversations with her mother, and her patience when campaign manager Farheen calls to announce another campaign setback.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.
Pictured: Barr with opponent Jill Stein.

Ultimately, she learns that being famous and opinionated aren't necessarily enough to get elected — something Donald Trump, whom Barr has recently supported in interviews, should perhaps bear in mind.

But if Barr isn't fit for any kind of public office, she does deserve a platform of some sort. Remove the political underpinnings of Roseanne for President! and you've got the story of a woman who survived a near-fatal accident and a stint in a mental hospital, a "domestic goddess" who spun her blue-collar lifestyle into comedy gold, and an entertainer who fought for taboo topics (homosexuality, poverty, teenage sex) to be aired during primetime. Yes, she also grabbed her crotch while singing the National Anthem, but we've seen worse.

You don't have to agree with her politics to appreciate Barr. The documentary has her referencing a TV project falling through, which is a shame. Her realness and snark would be welcome on our TV screens. She may no longer be the snarling housewife she once was, but she's still got that survivor mentality, razor-sharp wit, and affinity for the disenfranchised. We'll take that over every single one of the laugh-track, lowest-common-denominator comedies out there.

More from Movies

In the upcoming indie sci-fi flick Crossbreed, Vivica A. Fox will play a president who sends war veterans on a mission to retrieve an alien whose DNA is ...
Have you ever re-watched an old movie and cringed? Maybe you were watching Breakfast at Tiffany's and Mickey Rooney's overtly racist Asian stereotype ...
A few months ago, I found myself riveted by an appearance Melissa Harris-Perry made on Real Time With Bill Maher. Harris-Perry had recently left her show...
The 1960s never seemed creepier than in Rose McGowan’s haunting short film, Dawn (2014). McGowan, whose long acting résumé includes roles on TV megahits ...
The miracle and the curse of Netflix are one and the same: There is so much damn stuff to watch. In fact, if you're not sure exactly what you're looking ...
As if winning an Oscar wasn't enough, actress Lupita Nyong'o just proved that she has another talent under her belt: freestyle rapping. The 33-year-old ...
There are few movies that just beg to be parodied more than Fifty Shades of Grey. But High School Musical comes pretty darn close. In case you haven't ...
This month, many 15-year-olds are just getting in the back-to-school swing of things. But Auli'i Cravalho's schedule is a little bit different: The teen ...
Growing up is hard to do. Before "adulting" — that is, clumsily impersonating our role models and pretending we have our lives together — became a buzzword...
Every once in a while, a documentary comes out and changes the world. For 2016, 13th is destined to do just that. A film from notable director, ...
For women, Star Wars costumes used to mean one thing: Princess Leia. There were variations within the theme — Danish side-bun Leia, Hoth Leia, gold-bikini-...
As long as Harry Potter fans keep rewatching the beloved movies, they'll keep finding new reasons the series will make you cry. The latest discovery? Harry...
The documentary world can be overwhelming. Think of a topic — broad or obscure — and very likely a movie has probably been made about it. Biographies, ...
Luna Lovegood is one of the most memorable characters from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Later, the eccentric character was brought to life by the ...