In June 2011 democratic congressman Anthony Weiner tweeted a picture of his bulging crotch from his official Twitter account. The scandal that followed which revealed numerous online interactions of a sexual nature with several different women, caused Anthony to resign, disgraced, from congress. In 2013 Anthony made an unexpected return to the spotlight when he announced he would run for mayor of New York. Weiner traces Anthony’s unsuccessful mayoral bid as fresh scandal dismantles the campaign.
Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg grant unprecedented access behind the scenes of Anthony’s 2013 mayoral campaign. Weiner insightfully captures the controlled chaos that exists in temporary office spaces and the often bizarre circus of the campaign trail. But perhaps more interestingly, we witness in extreme proximity a campaign team in crisis as further scandal strikes mid race.
Weiner finds a great deal of its humour in the ensuing crisis management – possessing more than a hint of political farce in scenes which see Anthony practice how best to pronounce ‘I am profoundly sorry.’
Anthony is a captivating, albeit uncomfortable subject – a strange amalgamation of virtue and vice. He is an undeniable political talent. He was the youngest member of the New York City council in history, and was viewed as a rising star in the Democratic party. And yet the portrait Weiner builds questions the cause of this determination. Is it instead rooted in Anthony’s narcissism or delusion? Anthony’s compulsive self-sabotage and insistence on occupying the spotlight makes watching Weiner like watching a car crash you cannot quite tear your eyes from.
With intimate access to Anthony’s increasingly fractured family life, Weiner captures the devastating effects of a media pile on. Anthony’s wife Huma (who would go on to work closely with Hilary Clinton) is a particularly compelling figure, whilst the relentlessness of the press seems to highlight a willingness to enforce sexual norms and a disregard for those caught in the cross fire.
Weiner‘s real achievement is its absence of judgement for its deeply flawed subject -but perhaps events after the film’s release provide some clarity. In 2016, Huma left Anthony following even more revelations of sexual interactions with women on the internet. In May of 2017 Anthony was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for transferring obscene material to a minor.
Despite such revelations Weiner remains a powerful character study of a complicated man, his family, and the press.
Where can you find it?
More like this?
Get me Roger Stone
Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press