Bhutto (2010, Duane Baughman, Johnny O’Hara)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

One of the defining characteristics of human beings that is that we are flawed, imperfect creatures. All the “Great Men” of history were actually just human beings; sometimes they did things we might view as great, but they had their problems. There isn’t a single major political leader in history who hasn’t done something awful.

But, despite my reluctance to anoint anyone a hero, and despite my reluctance to call anyone “Great,” this woman seems to have been some kind of hero. A female Prime Minister in Pakistan, one who worked tirelessly for democracy.

The film doesn’t really explain the charges of corruption and, frankly, I don’t have the time or inclination to investigate. But I will say that if I had to choose between a democratically elected but financially corrupt PM and a military dictatorship…well, I take the PM every time. (And, just so we’re clear: if I have to choose between a prime minister who accidentally elbows a woman in parliament and a prime minister who wants to eradicate parliamentary tradition…well, I take the elbower.)

I don’t know enough about Bhutto to really judge her fairly. And unfortunately this film doesn’t go into enough detail for us to judge her – though, to the film’s credit, it does include Bhutto’s critics, most prominently her niece. But, on face value, there are few more inspiring political figures of the last few decades than this woman. And I say that as a certified cynic.


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