Sunday, 8 January 2017

Watching Weiner's Downfall

Huma Abedin says she forgives her husband for his transgressions
The Cathay Pacific flight back to Hong Kong was delayed leaving Vancouver and 13 hours long. It's interesting how the airline doesn't help passengers adjust to the time at destination -- instead they just want to have the cabins dark as much as possible so there isn't much to do except watch movies or sleep.

When I got on the plane, I fell asleep, and slept on and off for a few hours, but then stayed awake for around six hours -- in the dark, which meant a lot of movie watching.

I like to watch documentaries and the first one that grabbed me was Weiner, about the disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner and later candidate for the New York mayoral race because of sexting scandals that came back to haunt him.

Hillary Clinton considers Abedin to be like a second daughter
Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg followed Weiner and pretty much had unprecedented access and be able to be a fly on the wall watching his interactions with his attractive and very capable wife, Huma Abedin, who works for Hillary Clinton.

How can one not resist following a man with political power like Weiner, who was no Democrat wallflower in Congress and yet his weakness of wanting to text women sexually explicit messages and pictures led to his downfall.

In 2011 he resigned from Congress, and media outlets from CNN to CNBC to Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien could not resist making fun of Weiner.

However, two years later he announced he would run for Mayor of New York, which is when the documentary starts following him.

The couple react while watching his combative TV interview
Of the many candidates running, he seemed to have the most media attention, as reporters kept asking why they should forgive him for his sexting scandal, but he insisted on letting the voters decide.

That seemed settled, but only a few weeks to go before voting day, more pictures and sexting messages are released and Weiner is back on the defensive. His campaign staff are frustrated with him not being completely truthful about what happened.

But most telling are his wife's reactions.

Viewers can see how she is feeling through her body language -- can anyone blame her? She was his biggest asset in the campaign, but when the second round of sexting pictures and messages came out, she felt she had to extricate herself from the situation, as it would affect her work with Clinton's upcoming presidential race.

Complicating matters are them having a toddler, who can probably feel the tension between the couple. One scene shows Weiner taking his son to vote. After he emerges from the polling booth with his son, the child is overwhelmed by the cameras and cries when his father wanted him to give thumbs up.

Just before a press conference where Abedin defends Weiner
It's fascinating that the couple were willing to have the camera crew pretty much document everything. Weiner probably did it to try to set the record straight with his mayoral campaign, but that didn't work out, but why did Abedin allow it? Did she know her husband would fall from grace again and wanted it on the record?

The only person to blame for this whole mess is Weiner himself. He seems to know he has done major damage, but seems to think it is a crisis that can blow over.


Watching Weiner is like watching a car crash happen in slow motion -- you can't help but watch to see what happens...

Weiner (2016)
Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg
US Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival


  1. That's a documentary I'd be interested to watch too. Wonder what the chances are of it getting shown in a film festival, if not in regular cinemas, here. Oh, and welcome back to Hong Kong! :)

    1. HI YTSL -- it was just released last year so there is a chance!

      Nice to be back. Now I'm fighting jetlag!