NZ International Film Festival review: Weiner

Weiner premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January
Weiner premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January

"The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers."

Marshall McLuhan's quote, which opens this extraordinary riot of a documentary, could not be more prescient where Anthony Weiner is concerned.

Because you'll remember his story by name alone - the New York congressman whose pictures of his, well, weiner, sparked a very public fall from grace in 2011.

Weiner - the documentary - follows his attempt at redemption in the form of a 2013 bid to become New York Mayor.

It is a thrilling, hilarious and nuanced look behind the closed doors of a campaign which was dominated by endless tabloid puns and fresh sexting revelations.

On one hand, it shows us Weiner the talented politician: quick-witted, scrappy, and unfailingly passionate about representing the people of his city.

On the other, we see Weiner the liability: a man with the most colossal lack of judgement, a maniacal ego and an embattled but faithful wife (Huma Abedin - herself a political powerhouse as a longtime Hillary Clinton staffer), whose turmoil he seems to dismiss in favour of dealing with his own.

Weiner delivers scene after scene of unbelievable campaign moments, which range from the absurd to the heartbreaking.

It's superbly edited for maximum dramatic and comedic effect, and refuses to shy away from the uncomfortable task at hand - much like the man himself.

Four-and-a-half stars.

This film is playing as part of the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival.

     Weiner:: Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg:: Rating: Exempt:: Running Time: 95 minutes

Reviewed by Kim Choe/Newshub.

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