Documentary Review Week: Wiener

One of the most important aspects of film is character because character is action. It’s one of my favourite aspects of film because character tells stories, it begets understanding and empathy, or in Anthony Weiner’s case: sympathy.

As a british citizen I was largely unaware of Anthony Weiner apart from the fact that he was a politician, there was something newsworthy surrounding him and that he had a ridiculous surname. I was in for a ride.

The documentary starts with Weiner complaining about having to take a phone call in the middle of the film “about his scandal” before a montage of Anthony Weiner in action.
It turns out that Anthony Weiner is a politician for New York and was known for being passionate and angrily outspoken about the problems concerning the working class.
Also a picture of his actual weiner was shared on his twitter page by accident.
The world responded.

Weiner is a perfect example of a character study as we become more familiar with Anthony and his wife Huma Abedin during their joint effort to be successful in Weiner’s campaign to become the next mayor of New York.
Anthony is brash and impulsive, making so many missteps that you’ll be reaching for the pillow when the cringe is dealt in spades, yet he’s too likeable not to wish deep down that he overcomes his scandal and succeeds.
His wife should win a medal for her stoicism and a reveal of a second scandal only tests her love and dedication to the man and his campaign, even if it’s clear that she wants to murder him.

The filmmakers, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, follow Weiner around for some of the most explosive and intimate moments, capturing Weiners love and passion for his work but also his despair and ridicule during his downfall.
And what a downfall. Montages are used well to show a contrast from Weiner parading through the streets with a rainbow flag and a huge smile celebrating unity and love to the contempt and distrust amongst his voters once his Weiner makes a second appearance on the internet.
Accurately paired with TV footage and media outlets picking Weiner apart as his scandal worsens it really is a thrilling ride to behold.

Though it’s interesting to see just how much work goes into a political campaign and how every question from the media and his voters regarding his political and personal life has a well scripted answer and explanation, It’s the exploration of character that really drives this film and makes it worthwhile.

Weiner – 9/10


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