Weiner movie poster

The personal is political in Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kreigman’s fascinating documentary covering former Representative Anthony Weiner’s 2013 campaign for mayor of New York City. Because, as we’re reminded at the outset, the combative congressman was driven to resign his office in the wake of a sexting scandal. But the political is also personal: right away, he announces that getting back into politics looked like a way forward for his marriage to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Also, his textual hookups tend to start via shared political passion before progressing to the other kind. And in a rare moment of self-criticism, he allows that politicians may choose their profession partly out of a desire for attention and approval from a wide swath of humanity. Maybe that helps to explain why he lets the cameras roll as both his campaign and his marriage are rocked by a second wave of sextual revelations. At one point, the voice behind the camera actually asks, “Why are you letting me film this?” Weiner can only shrug in reply; the implication is that, for better or worse, this is who he is: an idealistic fighter who will not back down or chicken out. If the fighter is also a fool, so be it. The access is amazing, and the film easily escapes the fading headlines about a botched campaign to become an enduring portrait of a political animal caught in a technological trap. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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