In a new high-energy documentary Weiner, chronicling the reemergence, of ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, as he re-enters the political arena vying as a candidate in the New York City mayoral race, directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg find their film project diverted as new accusations meet the relentless will of their impulsive star.
Anthony Weiner is an American politician and former U.S. representative who served New York’s 9th congressional district from January 1999 until June 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he won seven terms, never receiving less than 59% of the vote.
While receiving positive marks on domestic issues, Weiner criticized UN diplomats for failing to pay parking tickets in New York City, claiming foreign nations owed $18,000,000 to the city. As it turns out, a 2010 license plate check by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call showed that Weiner’s own vehicles were among several owned by members of Congress which had unpaid tickets. The then congressman owed $2000 in fines.
The congressman’s down fall began with what became known as Weinergate. Dick pics taken on his cell phone were sent to numerous women via Twitter. After days of denying the allegations Weiner finally admitted to sending the photos and resigned from Congress in June 2011.
Weiner filmmakers set out to make what they thought would be an all-American comeback story, but in a stranger-than-fiction turn of events, they are forced into the whirlpool of scandal number two, accusing their subject of yet another sexting affair.
Once again it’s all about Weiner’s wiener, now better known as Carlos Danger, the profile name he used on social media. Despite his mission to save New York City and be a voice for the middle class, the media machine does not even pretend to be interested in anything other than the sexual discrepancies of the man.
Weiner’s efforts to keep on topic about real issues that concern the people he wants to serve are generally welcomed by voting members of those communities affected economically, but not everyone is convinced that he is the one to save the day – not with the baggage he brings into the arena.
The filmmakers are triumphant in documenting the way everyday people respond to the promises Weiner makes. Let’s not forget his co-star, wife Huma Abedin, the right hand woman to Hillary Clinton, who at the risk of her own political career, must play the role of the “supportive wife. “ In one segment, she is seen rolling her eyes behind-the-scenes, as she musters up the strength to stand by her man’s unrealistically optimistic plans. Perhaps it is humor Abedin is trying to find in the middle of the mess they are in when she says: “Do I look like I’m camera ready?”
Weiner is a truly fascinating look into the rise and fall of a promising young politician, the rare kind, who seem to be on the right side of crucial issues, like healthcare reform, single payer, “reasonable costs for high-quality care,” and becoming a champion for the under-represented.
The irresponsible, meritless activities of corporate media is also present in this film, the way its players choose to focus on the sexual, tabloid aspects of the man, instead of focusing on a trail-blazer of a politician who is willing to go against the grain, advocating real causes.
Covering an embattled impulsive man who refuses to back down from a fight can be nothing short of an everyday roller coaster ride, especially when he allows you day-after-day to keep rolling the camera. Who does that?
The Weiner documentary is a beautiful nightmare from which two filmmakers pieced together an unforgettable, highly entertaining slice of Americana.
Kriegman and Steinberg went to battle with a two-headed dragon, got lost in the fog of his war, and found their way home with a great story to tell the future generations.
Weiner hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and VOD on May 20 and will premiere on Showtime in the fall.
See The Trailer for Weiner:
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