‘Pelosi within the House’: What new documentary reveals about Nancy Pelosi

The clickety-clack of excessive heels by means of varied corridors of energy is a continuing in “Pelosi in the House,” documentarian Alexandra Pelosi’s movie about her mom, Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi.

“For my entire adult life I’ve been two steps behind you with this camera, trying to keep up with you,” Alexandra says off-camera as she races by means of the U.S. Capitol constructing with the fast-moving congresswoman. “Mom, do you realize that? You walk at a pace. It’s hard to keep up with you.”

“I’m a workhorse, not a show horse,” replies the elder Pelosi, an announcement that’s validated many occasions over on this refreshingly private account of a life spent in politics.

The HBO documentary, which premieres Tuesday, briefly covers the California Democrat’s upbringing in a religious Catholic family of Baltimore politicians, and her three many years in Congress, together with the landmark second in 2007 when she broke a centuries-old glass ceiling to turn out to be the primary feminine speaker of the House.

Even Alexandra’s montage of the assorted pumps (blue, yellow, pink) that Pelosi has worn whereas governing by means of six presidencies is a slice of Beltway historical past. However the movie primarily focuses on probably the most difficult and harmful interval within the 82-year-old’s profession, the Trump presidency.

Nancy Pelosi introduced final month that she wouldn’t be in search of one other time period as House speaker after a kidnapping try gone awry. A politically motivated intruder broke into her San Francisco residence and attacked her husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, with a hammer. He suffered critical accidents, from which he’s nonetheless recovering. The suspect, who supposed to assault Pelosi, prosecutors allege, has been charged with a number of federal counts, together with assault on a member of the family of a U.S. official and tried kidnapping of a federal official, together with state costs.

Though the documentary doesn’t cowl the assault, it does seize the disturbing rise of threats and violence towards politicians and public servants, from the inflammatory “death panel” hysteria the preceded the passage of the Reasonably priced Care Act in 2010 to the lethal rebel on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi together with her mom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


“Pelosi in the House” isn’t a wonky political manufacturing, a biographical deep dive or a proper take a look at a lifetime of presidency service à la the 2018 documentary “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls.” It’s a daughter’s ode to her mom at a very perilous time, designed to humanize a frontrunner whose been viciously focused.

Candid interviews and pictures solely a daughter might procure are the primary attraction of “Pelosi in the House.” There’s the speaker at residence in her pajamas, negotiating over the cellphone with then-Vice President Mike Pence as she does the laundry. On the workplace, she’s embarrassed and entertained by memes of her viral, condescending clap throughout then-President Trump’s first State of the Union tackle in 2018. And in public, Pelosi bites again at lefty protesters and right-wing operatives alike once they dare recommend she’s violating her oath of workplace.

Husband Paul is proven all through the movie, at residence dozing in a chair, or at her workplace or staying out of the limelight as Nancy takes the stage. When Alexandra turns her digital camera on him at a piece celebration and asks why he’s there, he solutions, “I’m just here for the pistachios.” “You made that joke last year,” she says. “It’s good to be consistent,” he quips.

However in additional foreboding moments, you see Paul Pelosi being harangued outdoors his residence by Iraq warfare protesters, or whereas in D.C., asking somebody through cellphone why the home was left unlocked. He seems weak, whereas his spouse operates with the iron will of a warrior.

In the end, the movie is a portrait of Nancy Pelosi’s tireless dedication to nation and precept, regardless of the fee, though it’s unlikely that Pelosi detractors will see it that method. When Alexandra asks her mom how she weathers all the rancor, the speaker remembers one thing she learn abroad: “It was a saying in an African hospital: ‘When one day I die and happily go to meet my maker… he will say to me, “Show me your wounds.” And if I have no wounds to show him, he will say, “Was nothing worth fighting for?”’ I’m pleased with my wounds.”

‘Pelosi in the House’

The place: HBO

When: 9 p.m. Tuesday; 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday

Streaming: HBO Max, any time

Ranking: TV-14 (could also be unsuitable for youngsters underneath age 14)