Weiner NZIFF review

Tell many bare faced lies, don’t make good on campaign promises, go to war against the wishes of the people, but for gods sake don’t get horny! It seems in the Politics of America, the moral compass is all skew-whiff. Lies, guns, and violence ok, anything a bit sexy, bad!

Anthony Weiner is a former congressman who resigned after tweeting a photo of his junk to the world. Following numerous denials, he finally admitted that he had exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women. That is about all I knew going into this film but this fly on the wall documentary gives you an insight into the man behind the headlines. Weiner follows the disgraced Congressman and his attempt to rise from the ashes to become Mayor of New York City only to be embroiled in his second sex scandal.

Like so many top notch documentaries Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg just happen to be in the right place and the right time. Filming what should have been his triumphant comeback, becomes a brilliant deconstruction of what life is like in under the glaring media’s eye.

The film shows us a normal and talented man who is a passionate politician (maybe he’s just a little too passionate in his private life eh). The film does not demonize him or any individual but allows the viewer to simply go along for the ride. Obviously, Weiner is our main protagonist but the documentary is also very much about Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony and a highly successful political staffer who worked alongside Hillary Clinton. It’s the unseen side of these kind of scandals and the women handles it with grace and a good few eye rolls.

The film perfectly highlights the role of the media within modern politics without making judgement but leaves you with questions. Is this type of scandal coverage in the public interest– to inform and educate us and or is it simply there to distract, titillate and enrage us? The media, Like so many politicians these days, seem more interested in firing off divisive and tasty sound bites or taglines rather than to say anything of any real substance.

We all know there are two sides to a story and this documentary certainly sheds light on how the media machine works in a derogatory manner towards democracy. It pays as a stark warning to politicians that their sex life is more important than their politics and policy will ever be. Even though what he did was wrong on so many levels, does it really effect the voting public or his ability to do his job well? Aren’t the rude pics between him and his wife? Maybe his egotistical nature is what makes him a great politician? Almost immediately I liked Anthony Weiner, he seemed real and trust worthy despite his naughty background. He’s certainly a charismatic and interesting character who seems to lay himself bare here which is especially refreshing in this time of crazy lying politicians worldwide! Weiner is an insightful, honest and funny portrayal of modern politics.Leaving the cinema I released one thing for sure, I love myself some Weiner.

Reviewed by Ian Wright

Weiner will is screened as part of the NZIFF programme.

4 small stars