Film Reviews

Review: ‘Weiner’

Hot Docs 2016

Courtesy of Hot Docs


Weiner
(USA, 100 min.)
Dir. Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
Programme: Special Presentations (International Premiere)

Weiner is an insider portrait of former New York Democratic Senator Anthony Weiner, focusing on the events that unfolded during his second sexting scandal, which ultimately derailed his New York City mayoral campaign. (Weiner had previously resigned from Congress due to other sexting allegations.) The film is compelling in unusual ways, deliberately foregoing the details of the politician’s scandals. Instead, it uses the provocative story as a critique of media sensationalism. The filmmakers were given incredible access to his mayoral campaign, and their footage humanizes Anthony Weiner as a refreshingly transparent politician.

We witness his transparency in the way he reacts to voters, campaign officials, and his wife, political operative and Hillary Clinton’s right hand woman, Huma Abedin. The film shows how the scandal affects Weiner’s relationship with his wife, as she sticks by his side, albeit hesitatingly at times. The doc focuses on the emotional depth and level of understanding between the couple, and not on the scandal. When one of the filmmakers asks Weiner a question, he pokes fun at a classic documentary convention, “I don’t recall there was ever a fly on the wall that talks.” This level of irreverence highlights Weiner’s sense of humour. Some may object to the empathy the filmmakers offer to their subject, but for me, Weiner is an incredible document that humanizes politics in a way I’ve never seen before.

Weiner screens:
-Friday, April 29 at the Isabel Bader at 3:30 PM
-Saturday, April 30 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 1:00 PM
-Friday, May 6 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 6:30 PM

Please visit the POV Hot Docs hub for more coverage on this year’s festival.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit www.hotdocs.ca for more information.