On Wednesday, the Michelle Obama documentary Becoming premiered on Netflix, and survey says... it’s fine. The documentary largely follows Michelle on a 2018 book tour of her autobiography—also called Becoming—and acts more of a companion piece to her bestselling book than a revealing documentary bursting with new information about Michelle’s life before, during, and after the White House. But one thing is clear: Sasha and Malia Obama are a lot more intriguing than their parents at this point.
The sisters appear very briefly toward the tail end of the documentary; Malia congratulates her mother after one of her book tour events, and there’s footage of Malia and Sasha embracing Michelle as she talks about the oddity of being an “empty nester” in a voiceover. “That has been exhilarating,” Michelle said. “To watch the two little beans you were in charge of grow up.”
Sasha and Malia then share their hopes for their mother moving forward in a moment that is filmed differently than the rest of the documentary, making it appear as if it was thrown in at the last minute.
“I’m excited for her to be proud of what she’s done,” Sasha said. “Because I think that’s the most important thing for a human to do, is to be proud of themselves.”
“No longer facing that same scrutiny—being able to let all of that leave your mind—creates so much more space,” Malia said.
But that’s it.
President Obama and Michelle made a deliberate effort to keep their children out of the spotlight in the hopes that they live as normal of a life as possible. They were the youngest occupants of the White House since the Kennedy children, and after the press’s vile obsession with an adolescent Chelsea Clinton and the widely publicized shenanigans of the Bush twins, it’s easy to understand why. While 21-year-old Malia and 18-year-old Sasha’s down-to-earth temperaments suggest that they’re outstandingly normal for the children of a president, let’s be real: Shit was probably crazy for them, and might still be; Malia can’t even smoke a j, drink rosé, kiss her boo, or dance to The Killers in peace without a tabloid crawling up her ass.
The Obama sisters deserve their privacy, and the fact that I barely know what Sasha Obama’s voice sounds like is a testament to the fact that they’re quite good at maintaining that privacy.
But the curiosity is still there: What were those eight years like and how did it affect their lives moving forward? Are they ideologically more to the left than their father, like many of their fellow zoomers? Do they ever get into political arguments with him? Do they cringe when they see their mom hugging up on George W. Bush? Should I send Sasha Obama my old Rock Against Bush CD (she wore Docs one time, OK)? Do they make fun of Barack? Who did they support in the 2020 primary? Where did Sasha Obama get her dope Aaliyah shirt? What is Malia’s favorite Killers song? Do they have a secret TikTok? What’s their favorite meme? Who do they stan? Are they Barbz? Did Malia ever square the fuck up with whoever leaked that photo of her playing beer pong?
I just have a few questions. Maybe Netflix can cover that, and more, in another documentary someday.