This new documentary about the former Congressman from New York is downright frightening in its intensity for Anthony Weiner and his-wife-who-deserves-so-much-better Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s right hand woman. She’s so close to the Clintons that Bill once referred to her as his second daughter.
The film documents Weiner’s run to become mayor of New York City following his sexting/Twitter scandal with a bevy of like-minded and willing young women. Of course, we all know what happened once selfies of Weiner’s bulging-through-his-underpants weiner surfaced on the internet.
But Huma gave Weiner a second chance and New Yorkers were about to as well (he was leading in the mayoral polls) when it was revealed that Weiner was still up to his old tricks, exchanging provocative emails and phone calls with a 23-year-old woman named Sydney Leathers. As if Weiner’s name wasn’t bad enough–he had to chose a paramour who could compete.
What’s worse is when Ms. Leathers (who cashes in on her notoriety by, what else, making a porn flick) comes to New York ready to confront Weiner and Huma. In one of the only times Weiner shows an ounce of good judgment, he tells Huma to get out of his car and go home on Election Night as Ms. Leathers waits for the both of them with cameras rolling.
Watching Weiner and his wife suffer through the onslaught of the New York media after Ms. Leathers goes public is painful and makes you wonder why anyone would want to run for mayor. But what’s worse is when Weiner decides to go toe-to-toe with an Orthodox Jew who tells him he ought to hide his face in shame. Let’s just say Weiner picked the wrong guy to confront because this fellow gives as good as he gets.
Sitting through this movie is only fun if you like watching someone’s head get squeezed tighter and tighter in a vise. It’s not that there’s any sympathy here for Weiner but it’s still quite uncomfortable to watch.
Two questions come immediately to mind. Well actually three.
- What was Weiner thinking when he allowed the cameras to follow him everywhere, even in his private moments with Huma?
- Why did he allow this movie to be made and continue to cooperate with it after his new sexting scandal was revealed?
- What the fuck is wrong with Huma?
It’s obvious that Weiner has no judgment but what about Huma? You have to wonder about the advice she gives Hillary if she’s standing by (and she’s still married to him) her man as Hillary herself once famously did. Still, Bill wasn’t dumb enough to get caught twice with his hand in the cookie jar (you can certainly choose your own, much more graphic analogy) and he wasn’t so silly as to allow cameras to follow him around in the private moments between he and Hillary.
Aside from the sad display of seeing a man fall apart (and Weiner seems to physically become more and more of a cartoon-looking figure as the film unfolds), this documentary is fascinating because it gives the public its first detailed look at Huma Abedin who had been something of a mythical creature…mentioned but never actually seen.
Huma is glamorous for sure but she’s also the master of the eye roll in this flick. She almost never bashes Weiner directly in front of the camera (even though he takes a few shots at her) but her eyes tell the tale and, to directly quote what one interviewer, they seem to be asking her husband, “What is wrong with you?”
I feel very safe in saying that Anthony Weiner is one public figure who is not going to make a comeback. And it’s not because the public won’t forgive him again (they might) but because his name is catnip squared to the city’s headline writers. The Daily News and the New York Post vied gleefully for the best front pages, things like “Weiner Sticks It Out” and “Obama to Weiner: Beat It.”
Let’s put it this way–he can come back but his name is kaput.