It’s an extraordinary, fly on the wall, political documentary, and I have no doubt that most viewers will not be able to take their eyes off of the screen. It’s barely 90 minutes…and I wish it was six hours. I never watch so-called “reality” shows. For one thing, once that camera is on you–reality goes right out the window. But this is different. Uncomfortable, squirm-inducing, fascinating, and urgent, “Weiner” is one of the finest documentaries of its kind, that you’ll ever witness. It all feels so honest, and remarkably like it is occurring in real-time.
If you don’t already know, Anthony Weiner was a multiple-term New York congressman, who resigned in disgrace in 2011, after proof surfaced of him being involved in “sexting conversations” with a variety of anonymous women. Of course, this was unforgivable to many, and deplorable to most, because his unaware pregnant wife was the beautiful, intelligent Huma Abedin–a close high-level aide to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Weiner ended up resigning from Congress, after the “infidelity” evidence became irrefutable. This was after multiple, public denials. Two years go by, and Anthony Weiner, claiming he had a renewed vitality, and complete forgiveness from his wife, decides to run for New York City Mayor in 2013. And guess what happens?
What filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg pull off here is incredible. There are a few minor instances, where I thought they might be skimping on the details, and one in particular, where I felt they were possibly guilty of dishonesty. Minor quibbles. And Ms. Abedin is the star here! Despite vocally supporting her disgraced husband, she looks disgusted and humiliated throughout by his actions. It’s tragic. Anthony Weiner certainly appeared to be an intelligent, energetic politician, with a limitless future. Was it correct to judge his behavior disgraceful, as we watch his career washed away, and his marriage irreparably damaged? When radio legend Howard Stern enters into the equation, brandishing the name of Weiner’s online sexting partner, Sydney Leathers, it becomes difficult to do anything but shake your head in disgust, at the deserved roasting of Weiner. Riveting.