Everyone loves a good Documentary on Netflix and over the past few years we've been absolutely spoiled. Whether it's a docu-series like "Making A Murderer" or a stand alone doc like "Icarus", it's safe to say that Netflix has been coming up trumps with it's supply of true stories as of late.
When I saw that the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning "Weiner" was now on Netflix I was thrilled, another great documentary getting the chance to reach a global audience. I was surprised however, when I realised how much the film was flying under the radar. This film is jaw dropping in so many respects. If you're not familiar with Anthony Weiner, the subject of the film, let me give you a little background on him.
Anthony Weiner was the great white hope for America's democratic party a young, up and coming politician who wasn't afraid to fight his corner as well as speak his mind. But back in May 2011 Weiner accidentally tweeted out a picture of his...well, of his weiner. Well, not actually the whole thing, but a picture of his underwear with "it" sticking out. The puntastic incident seemingly was going to cost him his career. I'm not going to post the picture here (even though it's not even that bad) but you can use your imagination.
His name probably caused this to hit way more headlines than it should have. I mean, US congressmen have done way worse things than send out a picture of their underpants. But his name made the whole incident a running joke and the seven time congressman became a household name in the US. This really started to affect his goal of becoming Mayor of New York. His infidelity also severely affected the career of his wife, Hillary Clinton's most trusted advisor, Huma Abedin. So close to Hillary is Huma that the Presidential runner up refers to her as "a second daughter".
Weiner allowed Documentary makers Josh Kreigman and Elyse Steinberg to document his comeback campaign where he attempts the achieve his dream of becoming Mayor of New York City. This crazy tale of "what will come next" winds up with Kreigman himself asking Weiner on camera "Why in the world did you let us film this?" How they get to that point needs to be seen to be believed. Weiner himself can only shrug his shoulders at the question.
Kreigman and Steinberg seem to strike documentary gold (just like Icarus director Bryan Fogel) when the initial story of the film (Weiner's comeback) gets turned on it's head when Weiner is hit with another dick-pic scandal when Sydney Leathers enters the fold.
Leathers, a wannabe adult film star (Gif'd above) and Weiner share a, ahem, correspondence and Leathers sees this as her opportunity to break into the 21st century celebrity culture perfectly, by going to the press with it all. The funniest part of the twist though is that Anthony Weiner has been going under the screen name of "Carlos Danger" online while courting these women into texting him.
What follows is an absolutely bonkers tale as a disgraced Weiner tries to convince the New York voting public to give him a THIRD chance as he continues to make massive mistakes and we watch as his marriage falls apart. We can actually see his poor wife unravel in front of the cameras. But just as you question why this woman stays with him, we the audience get sucked into his manipulation by getting behind him and actually believing him in his excuses and pleas for more chances.
Anthony Weiner is a very charismatic man and was actually a fantastic politician but is clearly a sociopath and a sex addict. The extraordinary chase scene near the end of the film where Weiner and his wife try to make it inside his campaign party by sneaking through a McDonald's side door so as to not run into Sydney Leathers who is waiting outside the venue with the press waiting to capture the whole embarrassing meeting is the both the highlight of the film and the sad encapsulation of the scumbag that Weiner actually is.
But you should watch this film and you should watch it as soon as possible as it is jaw dropping, hilarious and sickening all at the same time. It's worth your month's Netflix subscription fee alone. Or whoever is paying for the account your using!