"The aim of this film, initially, was to tag along with Helen Clark as she visited some countries, flew the diplomatic flag; a window into the idea of kindness and compassion within geo-politics (it’s still there if you search, as Preston and crew were planning). And then the film’s aims changed, just like that, suddenly Clark was very publicly being scrutinised in a campaign-length job-interview as she considered the top job at the UN, were she to get it would be the first ever woman awarded the role of Secretary General of the United Nations.
We know, before the film starts, that Clark was turned down, was unsuccessful. Preston mines documentary gold here – for this film would be a victory lap either way. The fact that Clark was unsuccessful give the film a huge power and keeps it – sadly – relevant for many years. That’s cold comfort in one sense of course, but it lends the film a potency. We see a very real, very human, very professional portrait of Clark in the glimpses we get. We also see the huge machine, the walls-have-ears in the wired-for-sound UN building. That Preston was able to get the footage she has seems remarkable. There must have been so many times when the camera had to be switched off – but there she is, sometimes filming on an iPhone, up close to Clark for several interviews that have a strange and lovely tension about them.
The resulting picture – that Helen is a tower of strength, that the UN and Big Politics is a sad old boys club – has charm and gravitas, has subtle humour and huge moments where the viewer will feel pride even as disbelief seeps in, as frustration rides alongside every key moment."