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Friday, July 22, 2016

Movie review: 'Weiner' is must-see for political junkies

Anthony Weiner's name is familiar to all political junkies.  He was an aggressive, progressive seven-term congressman (D-New York) who was defeated by his own sexting scandal.  It was 2011 and only two short years later, New York City's voters gave him a second chance when he decided to run for mayor.

Until he did it again

Until he sextexted again.

This man is sick.

The movie, Weiner, is about his political life of the last five years, chiefly, New York's mayoral race.  At Rotten Tomatoes, Weiner has earned a 96% rating from the critics, an 87% from the audience, and at the Sundance Film Festival, "Best Documentary."

But, why did they do it?  

Why did Weiner and his wife agree to permit filmmakers inside their lives and record them carte blanche?  (Most of the time. In two tense moments when truth comes knocking on the marital door, Weiner asks the film crew to leave .) 

His wife is the lovely, Huma Abedin, who is Hillary Clinton's indispensable aide.  In the film Abedin shatters her robotic persona as bag carrier. She reminds me of George Clooney's wife. (How does she keep that lipstick on all day?)  
After the 2011 shock, Weiner gathered momentum and sallied forth in his last campaign when he ran for mayor. He rode to the top of the polls, until the second sexting scandal broke, and this time, the voters gave him no second chance. 

He won less than five percent of the final tally.

Watch Weiner fall, see the media go nuts, and the trash follow him relentlessly around trying for a photo op 
inside the morass populated by humor, sadness, and wonder.

Campaign workers will recognize the office scenes, the talk, the buzz,  making calls, staging, knocking on doors, eating pizza for B,L, and D.  ("Been there; done that.")
Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg directed the documentary, enriched by Jeff Beal's musical compositions and videos from talking heads Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Howard Stern, and Lawrence O'Donnell

Near the end of the film Weiner is asked: Why did they do it? He considers the question and drifts glumly to the next scene without answering.

Did they do it for future political gain?  Perhaps.  But, the American people are good about forgiving, and I think they'll give this relentless, energetic Democrat another chance, and he'll ride the cause again.

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