Betty White: First Lady of Television (2018)

As a big fan of “The Golden Girls,” I’ve always loved Betty White, so this hour-long documentary about her extraordinarily long career was a delight. It’s true that there isn’t much meat to this documentary’s bones (especially given the short running time), but it’s entertaining nevertheless. There are some truly remarkable clips from some of the game shows on which White regularly appeared in the 1950s, leading to her late-in-life resurgence with “The Golden Girls,” and later on with “Hot in Cleveland” – it all adds up to a minor but effective exploration of one of the longest-running public figures the entertainment industry has ever seen, not to mention one of its most beloved. The talking head interviews are occasionally on the dull side (it’s clear that no one wants to say even a whiff of a bad word about White, and you can only hear about how great and warm she is so many times before it gets repetitive), but the interviews with White herself are fascinating: She rather candidly speaks of the pain of losing her husband, the stress she feels on sets even with all her experience, and she’s still a sharp comedienne with flawless timing so she peppers the interviews with adorable anecdotes and side comments that will surely bring a smile to everyone’s face. So like I said, it’s not a particularly riveting documentary but it’s a nice way to spend a quiet hour in the company of comedy’s long-time doyenne.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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