Mr. Johnson experienced significant emotional distress, leading to a serious depression that made him consider resigning from the presidency. His wife intervened, working to shield him from stress and help him recover, return to work, and ultimately seek a second term. Despite facing bomb threats due to Mr. Johnson’s civil rights agenda, she persevered and campaigned tirelessly, including a train tour of the American South. When asked about maintaining Democratic support in the South, Mrs. Johnson responded with a lighthearted comment about the challenge of being a woman in that role.
Mr. Johnson won a second term, and the movie follows the tumultuous years (1965-68) characterized by war, civil rights struggles, poverty, and the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. At times, Mrs. Johnson’s narration appears somewhat self-centered and oblivious. She recounted an encounter with Jacqueline Kennedy at Robert Kennedy’s funeral, focusing on a perceived snub by the former first lady rather than the tragic events unfolding.
Mrs. Johnson’s inability to consider alternative explanations for Mrs. Kennedy’s behavior may have been a coping mechanism. However, the film presents a rose-colored view of Mr. Johnson, portraying him as a heroic, devoted family man and progressive leader. While his “Great Society” initiatives resulted in significant reforms like the Civil Rights Act and Medicare, the film omits darker aspects of his presidency, such as his abusive behavior and the devastating impact of the Vietnam War.