Movie Review: Weiner (2016)

Posted: December 23, 2016 in Documentary


Anthony Weiner was a seven-term Congressman from New York City, and a rising star in the Democratic Party, until a sexting scandal made him resign from Congress.  It didn’t take him long to get the itch for politics again.  He decided to run for Mayor of New York, running against a group of largely unknown candidates.  His wife, Huma Abadeen was herself a rock star in the Democratic Party, as an aide to Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.  Huma decides to throw her weight behind her husband’s mayoral campaign.  Huma, his new son, Weiner’s policy knowledge, and reputation as a scrappy fighter for the middle class, seemed to be overshadowing his scandal.  He even took the lead in some polls in the mayor’s race.  People seemed to be willing to forgive him for his one misdeed, could he leave his troubled past behind him and could he and Huma become the new power couple of New York City?

Anyone who knows American politics knows the answer to the question posed above.  So why did the filmmakers what to make this movie.  It seems like they had a good subject for a film either way.  Either Weiner puts the original scandal behind him and goes on to win the mayor’s race, or he implodes and becomes a human traffic accident.  Nobody likes watching a car accident, but no one can turn away either.  Why did Weiner agree to have himself filmed?  He is a narcissist, like most politicians.  He likes the sound of his voice, and he thinks he can talk himself out of any situation.  And he liked the adulation of a cheering crowd that became his drug.  Huma Abedin didn’t exactly come out smelling like a rose either, she barely seemed to tolerate him at times, and only seemed interested in the power and prestige that being first lady of New York City would bring.

Why did I watch it?  I was wondering if it was worth all the great reviews from the professional critics, frankly, I didn’t think it was.  It was the subject himself, he is not a likeable person, he did an unconscionable thing, and he was asking to be forgiven, but he was still a jerk, even when things were going his way.  It’s like watching a fictional movie with an unlikeable main character, and there was no separating the story from the character, because Weiner was story.

The direction was ok, the pacing was somewhat slow, but at least this documentary didn’t have a point of view.  The filmmakers let the camera roll and let the chips fall where they fell.

Weiner:  A hot dog who couldn’t cut the mustard.


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