© Weiner —Elyse Steinberg & Josh Kriegman/Motto Pictures
2016, 96 minutes
If there’s one thing the camera loves during election season, it’s to capture a scandal erupting full force, trapping a candidate and its entourage in the course of its unpredictable path. Surely, the drama unfolding in Weiner will satisfy any viewers craving for a classic sensationalist story, one which involves standards in the genre—sex, power, high profile…and a tragically comic last name, Wiener, a golden ticket for racy New York Post headlines.
A comeback story of sorts, Weiner is sadly not one of ultimate redemption. The film follows seven-time congressman Anthony Weiner returning to politics with the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary of New York City, two years after an embarrassing ‘dick pic’ had forced him to resign. Ridiculed in the media and with few supporters behind him, his chances to ever make it back to the front of the stage, and clear his name, were slim at best. But that was not counting on the man himself, a fighter unafraid to rumble for his personal and political beliefs, and whose fiercely passionate attitude had made him one of the upcoming stars of the Democratic Party in the first place.
Topping the polls once again despite all previous indications, Anthony Weiner was soon caught up in yet an other scandal involving lewd images sent to multiple women. Worse yet, the salacious texts and pictures were sent under the online alter-ego name of Carlos Danger, another golden treat for journalists in dire need of shocking headlines. Unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, the tempest caused by the new revelations was one Weiner could not—and would not—recover from.
Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg don’t shy away from the pain, noticeably present within all those who had dared to believe Weiner was a changed man. Looking at the footage of a man crushed by his own wrongdoings is cringeworthy at times, and the conversations between Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin—a top political strategist—are as uncomfortable as one might expect. Surely, Weiner makes us wonder why anyone would want to enter politics, let alone be filmed continuously when under such scrutiny by the court of public opinion.