Review: Weiner, B
Rated R, 96 minutes
The fascinating new documentary "Weiner" is not about hot dogs, though it certainly does roast its subject really well. Though it's about a single politician, it's a biting statement on U.S. politics and media coverage. This follows former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, beginning with his time in Congress and his 2011 resignation after photos of his bulging underwear appeared on Twitter. The bulk of the film is about his 2013 campaign for Mayor of New York City, as a second sexting scandal emerges. Intimate views are captured of Weiner, his wife and his campaign staff struggling with the new revelations and the media firestorm that ensues. Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, "Weiner" is an engaging, often compelling fly-on-the-wall documentary, its relevance underscored by the new scandal that broke during the course of the making of the film, which was initially a documentary focused on Weiner's 2013 mayoral campaign.
Weiner is one of the most charming but troubled and scandal-plagued politicians of recent memory, who in spite of his initial scandal, still had a decent following (as one newspaper headline featured in the film says, he is "rising to the top") going into the NYC mayoral race, that is until his second scandal changed things for him once more. The documentary is sometimes fun in its look of Weiner, whose name seems all too-appropriate given his dumb actions, but it's also heartbreaking and bittersweet for someone who had genuine political aspirations. It shows how quickly someone can indeed rise and fall so quickly, thanks to today's constant, immediate media coverage, which is also featured prominently throughout "Weiner." Just as telling as its statements about politics is his wife Huma's steadfastness to stand by her husband through not just one, but two sexting scandals (the pained look on her face after she finds out says volumes), as well as letting the filmmakers to continue to film them through the second scandal. "Weiner" is a pertinent documentary that wins in spite of a politician who loses because of their dumb mistakes. Donald Trump, take note.