It is utterly inconceivable, in this day and age, that a movie like Weiner would ever be made about a Republican. This is a remarkably intimate and sympathetic look at a guy who shot himself in the foot—twice—who might otherwise have gone on to win the White House. Certainly the mayorship of New York City was in his grasp. And from there, governor, senator and, yes, possibly President. Though, I guess the latter is far-fetched for anyone, even someone cozied up to the Clintons. Whether he could or couldn’t be President depends more on whether the Clinton Crime Family is actually called to account in the coming years than anything Weiner did or could have done.
The irony here being, he’s done nothing so grievous as the Clintons. Or Trump. Or Teddy Kennedy. Or Robert Byrd. Or any other Democrat heroes. What did he do? He talked dirty to a woman of low morals.
But, more importantly, he posted a public picture of his turgid genitals. Photo evidence trumps all. Then, after he was supposedly chastened, he took up with this aspiring porn star in a manner that could be easily reproduced digitally. And, my friends, he did not leave her to drown in a car where she would not be able to embarrass him later on.
The movie starts by showing Mr. Weiner out on the floor of the Congress, lying in the de rigeur way of our elected officials: By highlighting one part of a bill to cast political opponents as being opposed to things that “no decent person” could possibly be against. This is fodder for the crowd, who desperately needs for their political enemies to be monsters, so they can avoid confronting the real monsters of the world.
Then all my lefty pals who get their news from the Daily Show come to me and say “Those dirty Republicans voted against giving money to veterans!” because, of course, they didn’t hear about the “mandatory abortion” clause on page 25.
It’s a story, by necessity, of a fairly reprehensible fellow, because, well, he’s a politician. But is he any more reprehensible than any of the other politicians? That’d be very hard to prove.
So, let’s take a step back and look at it as a picture of a human being, with aspirations, who (by all rights, at least based on what’s shown here) should be pretty happy with his lot in life. And yet. He’s tripped up by what can only be considered a philosophy of “truth as the last resort”. This kind of makes sense. Being truthful is a good thing. It’s a necessary thing, even, despite the various stratagems people work out to avoid it.
Weiner is kind of interesting, in the sense that he’s really one of these guys you think “Well, he’s really just upset that he got caught.” I think there’s some truth to that. At the same time, he doesn’t seem to be completely able to drown his conscience like an inconvenient lover as some others have done. He’s a true believer. He thinks he’s fighting the good fight. And he figures that takes precedence over his own ignominy.
Whether it should or shouldn’t, whether it does or doesn’t is based more on the caprices of fate, and possibly some backroom engineering amongst the Vast Whatever Conspiracy. If you heard the story as I did (rather disinterestedly), Weiner’s mayoral bid was derailed by allegations of new bad behavior. But from the movie, it seems like the bad behavior was old, if not entirely revealed, and he was more done in by the opportunistic Vegas dealer he chose to consort with.
It’s tragic, in the sense that he’s there with Huma (right hand of the She-Devil Herself), who here is just a mother with two young children who is trying to keep her family together. But we don’t get a lot of insight into her, really. She’s enduring, as politician’s wives do, no matter how feminist they claim to be. Is it more opportunism? We can’t tell from this.
On the three-point scale:
- It’s an interesting topic. No question. And, though it’s a small (heh) story, it’s reflective of our culture in many ways.
- It’s well done, no question. Audio and visual is good and the editing is tight. No fat here.
- Bias. Minimally, as I said up top, this isn’t the sort of thing we’d see about a Republican, whose sexual peccadillos are always, always, always a reflection of their political beliefs. Is it further biased, say toward humanizing a sociopath (or a pair of sociopaths)? No way of knowing. I’d like to think not.
It’s been a bit overpraised, I’d say, garnering a whopping 95% from critics on RT, and with a lot of people saying it’s the best political documentary ever. Eh. I actually don’t think watching a guy live through humiliation on film is particularly great as politics. Weiner presumably didn’t censor it, and so that gives it a more real feel than you’d perhaps expect. On the other hand, this documentary undoubtedly started as a way to praise him, and these people were probably going to give him the kindest treatment he was ever going to get.
In any event, it’s not really political: It’s personal. And that both lessens its importance in some ways and increases it in others.