Unlike her beautiful predecessor Jacqueline Kennedy or larger-than-life husband Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson never commanded the media spotlight, content to play a behind-the-scenes role advising her husband as his administration was increasingly hobbled by the morass in Vietnam. Still she had the foresight to keep an audio diary over these years, describing not just the events of the day but her private worries, fears, and impressions. Over a half century later, Dawn Porter uses them to create an intimate, incisive perspective of the time, proving there was much more to Lady Bird than met the eye.
This riveting doc combines excerpts from this First Lady’s audio diaries with a wealth of period footage to create an intimate, evocative view of the Johnson years. Director Porter confines the story to LBJ’s Presidency, beginning under tragic circumstances in Dallas and ending a little over five years later with a weary, aged president declining to run for a second-term. Lady Bird’s perspective adds a personal, poignant quality to a tumultuous period in our history, as she sacrifices the husband she loves to history. (His health broken, LBJ would die four years after leaving office). The indefatigable Lady Bird lived to 94, and via this illuminating film, she should live on for us all.