Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema: Weiner

Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema: Weiner

Article excerpt

Anthony Weiner is the American politician who made a comeback after a sexting scandal and stood for New York mayor. He was topping the polls, when a second sexting scandal broke, which proves what, probably, none of us had suspected all along: that thing you do where you send women pictures of your erect penis must be awfully hard to quit. This fly on the wall documentary was, happily, already filming Weiner and his fascinating wife (Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's long time aide) when his career imploded, and the result is as supremely entertaining, painfully funny and queasily riveting as you might have hoped, with one caveat: why is it so awfully hard to quit? Why is it so awfully hard not to press 'send'? And one other caveat: what is this fascinating woman doing married to this dumb ass liar of a man? We never quite get to the bottom of either of those.

First, a bit of background. Weiner was a Democratic congressman and a rising star when, in 2011, he was caught tweeting sleazy messages and pictures of his penis to various female groupies. Although at first he denied everything, said it wasn't his pecker -- he's a busy guy, so maybe he hadn't looked for a while and failed to recognise it? -- he eventually confessed and was forced to resign. This film, from directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, opens two years later by which time he's put the scandal behind him, so he says -- 'I'm a different man'; 'Never again' -- and has entered the mayoral race with the full support of his wife. He and Huma, he says, are fed up of living in a 'defensive crouch'. Huma, I have to say, seems way out of his league. She's not just a high flyer in her own right, but gorgeous to boot. She says at the beginning: 'It was not an easy choice in any way, but I made the decision that it was worth staying in the marriage.' She may have, at some point, attended the Clinton School of Forgiveness, which is said to be very, very good (the leader in its field). Was that it?

As for Weiner, he is wiry, noisy, fiery, flamboyant, energetic. He loves a parade. Gay parades, pro Israel parades, any parade and there he is, boisterously waving his flag. He assembles a team. The electorate appear willing to give him a second chance. …

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