Familiar with Anthony Weiner? He was the prolific and colorful New York state congressman who got in trouble for sexting. It was big news for quite awhile and spurred up quite the whirlwind of controversy. In 2013, Weiner tried to make a comeback through all the backlash of his sexting scandal and tried to run for mayor of New York City that year. "Weiner" is a documentary about that campaign and how Weiner tried to stage his comeback. We see how he prepared, how he continued to fight for his candidacy despite everyone attacking his character. On the dark side, we also see how on his road to become the Big Apple's next mayor, he got caught up in yet another sexting scandal. We see people come forth and discuss their sexting lives with Weiner and we see how this begins to affect the world around him.
If "Weiner" was just a mere examination of a stern, outspoken congressman who got caught in several bad scandals, then it would have been sort of amazing onto itself. What makes "Weiner" so entertaining is Anthony Weiner himself. Right as the film starts, we see Weiner sitting on a stool, wearing a suit. He says something along the lines of "so your making a documentary about my scandals, huh?" He knew exactly what the documentarians would be tackling with their work, and he agreed to do it anyway. Weiner actually has an acute comedic timing, whether he is trying for it or not. Weiner is definitely one of those politicians who could have shown up on a late night show or Saturday Night Live and would have been surprisingly effective. Even though what Weiner did is despicable, its weird how the filmmakers are able to get us to kind of like and root for a guy who sent sexts to other women.
Whats equally amazing is how Weiner is persistent throughout the entire film. Like I said above, Weiner is cracking jokes at the beginning of this film, knowing full well he could get drilled in this documentary, but he agrees to make it anyway. When Weiner is on the campaign trail, people often ridicule and belittle him, but he continues to campaign and campaign and campaign. I may disagree with Weiner's morals, but I can understand the want to pick yourself up from something bad and keep fighting the good fight. I can understand the need to persevere after tragedy strikes our lives. I can understand wanting to look your mistakes in the eye and tell them that they will not define our lives. The New Yorkers he runs into say some pretty mean things, honest things, but mean things and Weiner just keeps on working towards his goals. In a weird way, Weiner represents what it means to be a true American, something I think most of us have forgotten already.
Its also interesting to get a look how something like this affects others, how working in the world of scandals and politics can take a toll on you. We meet Weiner's wife Huma Abedin. We see her belief in her husbands campaign and believes in his second chance. Then when she learns of a second scandal, how the mood of the entire movie changes is unfathomably shocking. These are emotions an actor can't fake, and its sometimes crazy seeing genuine life unfold in front of your eyes.
Believe it or not, "Weiner" is fascinating on a large number of ways.
FINAL GRADE: A