A fascinating study of a man with an addiction that is probably very widespread - sexting. It's an addiction we're not quite used to, because it contains no ACTUAL sex - but it is one that with the advent of technology no doubt taps into the reward centers of the brain virtually as effectively - as do drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Additionally, it leaves behind one heck of a digital trail, making it incredibly easy for the addicted party to be exposed, literally. The documentary follows Weiner's trajectory from rising political star married to a beautiful woman who walks the corridors of high power to a man to a man who has nothing - not even the 'loyalty' of those he was exchanging sexts with. Given the recent turn of events, where Weiner actually included his young son in one of his sexts, you can see how little impulse control and rational judgment he has - also illustrated in his frequent and often unnecessary outbursts. If the documentary did anything for me personally, it was illuminate the heavy burden he shoulders his wife Huma with - here is a woman who desperately wants to support her husband in his ambitions but who is continually placed in the excruciating position of having to choose between her husband and her own dignity and career. Huma's big, sad, disappointed brown eyes as she struggles with the horrible load he has placed on her is what I'll remember most from this compelling documentary. No woman should ever have to be put in the position of running desperately away from her husband's 23-year-old porn star sext partner while cameras capture every shadow of agony wavering on her face. Why this movie is being classified by Amazon as a comedy is beyond me - it's a tragedy.
This might be one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Not because of the unique filming or the question of even really the topic, but because of the depth of access allowed by the participants. You sort of expected the campaign to shut down or rescind filming rights at some point, but that never happens. They just get to keep filming day after day right up until the end.
The interplay between Anthony Weiner's drive and political savvy and sharp wit against his personal moral failings and denial works so well. You always find yourself asking if this is the thing that is going to sink him or if he is going to fight his way back to the top.
I loved it in a cringe-inducing way. Watching this documentary illuminates why the long-suffering Huma Abedin announced today her separation from this basket case of narcissism. It appears impossible to make Weiner take responsibility for all the hurt and humiliation he's caused. It is always all about him, the coolest guy in the room. Sexting while his child is lying beside him on the bed? After seeing this film, I was not surprised to learn this today.
I have been waiting to watch this and it did not disappoint. As someone who followed these stories from the beginning, I was hoping there might be some kind of explanation as to why this man continued to engage in behavior that risked his personal life and political career. (Hint: there is no logical explanation) There are a number of humanizing moments for Anthony Weiner, and you start to root for him as a politician when you see how passionate he is about New York City and its people. However, you realize his passion might just be a byproduct of his complete absence of self-control. He is just as passionate about arguing with a random heckler at a bakery as he is campaigning at a Pride parade. Either way, the filmmakers did an excellent job at showcasing the rise of his campaign and subsequent downward spiral. As an outsider, you grasp how much this affected those around him, specifically his staff who devoted their time and talents because they believed in him. Hard to watch, but engrossing at the same time.
It's hard to fathom why Anthony Weiner would have agreed to participate with this documentary. More than anyone else, he knew what he did. He knew how it was perceived, and best of all, he knew that he KEPT ON DOING IT even after getting caught! That he consented to this documentary shows that his narcissism must be matched only by his hubris. What would ;make him think after all he had already gone through, and everything he had put his wife and family through, that he wouldn't get caught again? Many people wonder why this is a story that needed to be told, and maybe it didn't, but due to his wife's connection to Hillary Clinton, and the inevitability of her presidential campaign, it was a story that was bound to be told.
As a piece of documentary filmmaking, this is very good. The bulk of the film follows Weiner's failed run for Mayor of New York City in 2013. It gives a frank, unobtrusive look at his campaign, and the man himself, as he tries to reinvent himself and rise like a phoenix, but winds up in yet another trainwreck of his own making. As you watch, especially as his mayoral campaign unravels under the weight of new revelations of his sexting and phone sex behaviors, you find yourself wondering just what could he have been thinking, particularly when you witness the look on his wife's face after the news hits, and again each time when he pleads with her to make public appearances to help his campaign. To say that it's cringeworthy doesn't begin to cut it.
This was a fascinating look into who Weiner is, and what a hot mess that portrait ends up being.. On one side, you see what a witty and well-spoken politician he is, and how much he thrives on an audience. I could see in those moments why people were open to giving him a second chance.But good lord, the way he's manipulative and narcissistic behind the scenes is where the film hooked me. In sharp contrast to his constant talking about how he thinks he can overcome the scandal, Huma's facial expressions drown out his voice. She starts off so joyful looking at first, and then she goes to wanting to cut a b*tch named Weiner, then looking crest fallen by the end. I kept nodding in agreement with her "I've checked out of this campaign and this marriage, heifer" stare she gave him every time he tried to get her to be more public in her support towards the end. Classic!