The new documentary, “Wiener,” is without a doubt the best date movie for political junkies in years. The lauded film won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and will be distributed nationally starting May 20th.
“Wiener” is about former NYC Congressman Anthony Weiner, who ran for Mayor of New York City in 2013, after having to resign from Congress for a “sexting scandal. At the time of the “sexting scandal,” Mr. Weiner had just recently married Huma Abedin, a high profile aide to Hillary Clinton who was also pregnant with Mr. Weiner’s child. Mr. Weiner at first denied the “sexting,” claiming his account was hacked. However, after days of misleading statements and being the butt of huge international ridicule, Weiner came clean and was then reluctantly forced to resign from Congress. He and Huma Abedin (who is never referred to as Mrs. Weiner in the press), separated briefly, but after counseling reunited and thus he began his quest to be Mayor of NYC.
Josh Kreigman, a former congressional aide to Weiner, directed, shot and produced “Weiner.” Therefore, make no mistake about it, Kreigman tries to shine the best blue light on all things Weiner, but as true as it is in all reality filming, and that is what this is (a reality show documentary); certain stuff comes through the live lens that no editing can hide. Exposed are the complexities of both the narcissistic personalities of Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner and their ultra-complex marriage. You hear Huma Abedin think out loud, scold out loud and even cheer out loud. One has to wonder what will come of their marriage moving forward. The truth is in the end you root for it to work.
This film is crafted to make you laugh, whole belly laughs, and make you cringe as only one can when watching a husband getting caught in a misrepresentation about sex with the mother of his infant child. Her total humiliation and embarrassment of her husband’s behavior is laid out in live footage for all to see and hear. Huma Abedin is a professional political soldier of the highest order; perhaps soon to be the first female “Chief of Staff” of a President, should Hillary Clinton become President. However in this documentary, Huma Abedin is at the mercy of a reckless yet brilliant, flawed husband and watching/seeing this alone is worth viewing this film.
There is comedy in tragedy and this film trumpets this theme. I worked in a flawed NYC mayoral campaign as a congressional intern for Mario Biaggi, whose false testimony before a grand jury doomed his candidacy while he was in the lead in 1973. I sat next to Biaggi, just as Weiner’s staff does in the film as the bad news came out of the TV; believe me, it is not fun to be there. Yet I loved this film as did the couples all around me viewing it. Everyone I spoke with post the viewing, including famed author Gay Talese, said this film was worth seeing. That is why I am proclaiming it: The Best Date Night Movie for Political Junkies!
Weiner opens in theaters on Friday, May 20th.