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DVD Review: Weiner, the Documentary

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DVD Review: Weiner, the Documentary

Review by Diane McCurdy

The documentary Weiner, could not have been released on DVD at a more opportune moment, that is, if the film wanted some publicity considering its protagonist is again in the news. Recently the former congressman, husband of Clinton confidante, Huma Abedin, and father of a three old son has been caught once more posting certain parts of his anatomy on line. What is the matter with this guy?

There was a time when those involved in politics were allowed a certain shroud of deference by the press. There have been rumors about Eisenhower and Roosevelt. It has been said that the Kennedy’s pranced around Capitol Hill like satyrs. But those were the days before technology took over, before the paperazzi earned a living by documenting the titillating. Maybe it is a good thing to point out that even the great and powerful have tragic flaws. Nowadays privacy is a myth.

Weiner’s saga begins when he is campaigning to be mayor of New York. The filmmaker is one of his former aides. He presents a fascinating portraiture of a driven, articulate, fair-minded, brilliant man whose epic downfall can only be explained in terms of pathology. Previously Weiner had resigned from Congress in 2011 after his sexting and lurid selfies which were sent to several different women were made public. He made apologies that seemed heartfelt and sincere and vowed to change his ways. Then in 2013, even though he knew that the press would needle him over his past indiscretions, he announced his mayoral candidacy. Wiry and pugnacious he is the quintessence of what a politician should be. In his campaign he showed fiery passion and dedicated determination. Americans are a forgiving sort and he shot up in the polls. At one time he was the leading candidate. But a second scandal broke. More sordid photos were recovered, more sexting, all under the ridiculous on line identity of Carlos Danger. His numbers plummeted. And now this recent third episode has been in the news and has finally prompted his long suffering wife to leave him.

As we were made aware of in the Amy Winehouse documentary, some very talented people seem hell-bent on self destruction. As interesting as their lives are one is still confounded. Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, what were they thinking? Or, were they thinking at all?