The filmmakers had probably set out hoping to portray Weiner’s mayoral run as a tale of political redemption; Kriegman is a former chief of staff for the congressman, and in its initial days the campaign looks promising. Although it had been less than two years since Weiner resigned his House seat, he led in early polls, and in the
But Weiner’s campaign couldn't survive the discovery that he had done further sexting after resigning his seat — all of it, he claimed, during a dark period immediately following the original scandal when he and his wife Huma Abedin were considering a separation. Kriegman and Steinberg capture the explosive impact these new revelations have on the race: the irate and bewildered response of his staffers; the tidal wave of media indignation and snark.
They also capture the increasingly painful silences between Weiner and Abedin. A key advisor to soon-to-be presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the latter was facing a particularly difficult personal and political task: stand by her man while being careful about her growing public profile lest it all blow back on her boss. We see her asking for books and briefings on what she should say; she’s not a natural speaker the way her husband is, and even in private, she appears to let silent glares of disapproval and disappointment do the talking for
Weiner is about as entertaining as a film about someone destroying a life and career can be. You can’t turn away from the car wreck, and Weiner himself can’t stop commenting on it. It’s great television when he gets into a shouting match on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show, but the sight of Weiner in the emptiness of a remote studio in New York, seemingly yelling into thin air, strikes a poignant note as well. Later, Weiner himself watches the appearance with a peculiar mixture of shame and pride. He even shows it to Abedin, and the two-shot of them staring at the laptop, his grin contrasting with her glare of paralyzed horror, speaks volumes about their relationship. He knows it, too. After she leaves, he points to the screen. “Whatever the opposite of that is, is what Huma is,” he says, as that grin slides ever so slightly toward a grimace.
“I did the things,” Weiner says contritely in one interview. “But I did some other things, too.” Once upon a time, he probably would have uttered those words with pride — as if to say, “Look at all the good I did that was briefly derailed by a momentary lapse of judgment.” But by the