Susan Granger’s review of “Weiner”
Published 10:54 am, Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Perhaps it’s not surprising that in this tumultuous political season, disgraced former Brooklyn-Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner is the topic of a new documentary by his ex-chief-of-staff Josh Kriegman.
In 2011, Weiner resigned from his seven-term House of Representatives seat because of an infamous sexting scandal. Two years later, ever-ambitious Weiner, seeking rehabilitation, decides to enter the New York City Mayoral race.
When then-supporters Josh Kreigman and Elyse Steinberg propose chronicling Weiner’s run for occupancy of Gracie Mansion, they’re given unprecedented access, staying with him once a second wave of sexting revelations broke.
“She was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her,” he confesses, taking full blame for the harm he caused.
“If Huma can forgive, who am I to hold a grudge,” says one supporter.
But once the campaign gets underway, bawdier transcripts and lewd crotch pictures surface under Weiner’s pseudonym “Carlos Danger.” Those revelations, coupled with his abrasive, confrontational volatility, torpedo his chances.
As Marshall McLuhan said, “The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.”
Since Anthony Weiner obviously brought this on himself, one cannot help but feel for Huma Abedin as she endures a second round of public humiliation, retreating to their $12,000-a-month Park Avenue South apartment.
Although the filmmakers were inexperienced, their collaboration with editor Eli B. Despres (“Blackfish”) is revelatory, particularly when Weiner sneaks through a McDonald’s and up a back stairway to avoid contact with sexting pal/porn star Sydney Leathers, lurking outside, before making his concession speech on Election Night, 2013. After conceding, Weiner arrogantly gives the finger to photographers.
And Donald Trump declares, “We don’t want perverts elected in New York City. No perverts!”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Weiner” is a shame-filled 7, relating an excruciating political suicide.