Wednesday 10 August 2016

Film: 'Weiner'

After too long an interval, I've at last managed to return to seeing a film outside the mainstream releases. 

The story of Anthony Weiner's 2013 campaign to become Democrat mayor of New York had been retained only on the edge of my awareness, and that because of what he became notorious for - texting selfies of his intimate parts with 'lewd' texts to women he'd never met. I didn't even recall his name, though with such a name as the one he possessed I ought to have remembered.

This film is a fly-on-the-wall account of his campaign, without commentary - only comments from himself as his attempts to retain respectability descend into near farce as his lies and evasions became public - and by instalments, thanks to the 'judicious' timing of the women involved - plus, of course, gleeful remarks from political commentators from across the political spectrum. 

At the end of the film, Weiner is asked why he'd allowed the cameras to follow him around and his reply is that he thought it would give a more rounded picture of the man he was rather than the media's obsession with just the one aspect of his personal life. Unfortunately for him, the film has been edited to show, almost exclusively, reactions to the very subject he didn't want covered. All the while his wife Huma (an assistant to Hillary Clinton) is very present, sometimes attending press conferences with him, trying to put a brave face on it and smiling through gritted teeth. I must say her 'stand by your man' stance is exemplary for those who think that that is exactly what she ought to have done.

There's hardly any discussion at all of his policies. 
Within a very short while his ratings dropped from being strong favourite to win the mayoral election to, on the day, actually coming in last place of the half-dozen candidates, with less than 5% of the vote. An ignominious result, indeed.

The film didn't strike me as being particularly judgmental. though one could argue that its construction was hardly designed to be sympathetic, portraying a political figure who had no one but himself to blame for his fate.
Knowing next to nothing about the man I also am unable to make a judgment other than to say that because I feel instinctively more favourably inclined towards politicians of a liberal/socialist disposition, he did strike me as a tragic figure who shouldn't have been solely judged on his particular (and unfortunate) peccadilloes. However, if this had happened to a hard-right politician in any country at all, especially so in Great Britain, I admit that I would have been crowing with delight.

I'd be interested to know what others, particularly the Americans among you, now think of this man now that the dust has settled - was he a self-destructing fool, a man unfairly condemned, or someone in between?

The film was something of an education for me, and in that respect I found it both entertaining and informative. I do, however, wonder what I would have thought of this film had I already had an opinion of the man.....................6.5.


  1. I think this maybe too high brow for me Ray, it doesnt have wizards, witches or Quiditch in it. (she says typing this whilst wearing a Gryffindor hooded top)

    How are you feeling? I hope lots better

    1. Understood, Sol. I knew you like your entertainment to be exactly that i.e. 'entertaining' and, at least for me, this qualifies under that heading, though it's true that its feet are firmly on the ground, so it's not one for everybody.

      Thanks for asking after my 'condition'. Mixed bag, really. Mentally I'm okay but the visible signs are only too apparent whenever I open my mouth, and eating is always a problem. I'm waiting for an appointment at the hospital where my dentist wants to have my jaw looked at by a specialist to see what can and can't be done, so it's all a bit up in the air at the mo. Concern as to the future remains high, I'm afraid.

  2. I'm gonna say he was a "self-destructing fool."
    Smart man, made stupid choices; really stupid; high school boy stupid.

    1. Thanks, Bob - You and Jon (below) give me a first insight into what fellow Americans think of him. I must admit that during and after the film I was getting to feel sorry for him. It seems that maybe I should temper that wave of sympathy a bit.

  3. I doubt if anyone in the history of American politics has been more appropriately named. I disliked him even before the photo scandal. There's something about his arrogance and cockiness (no pun intended) that irks me.

    He is indeed a self-destructing fool, but his lack of remorse/shame is annoying. Everyone does stupid things now and then, but he was (is?) a public figure and should have shown a little less of himself and a little more restraint.

    (I saw his weenie photos on the Internet...and he didn't turn me on....)

    More importantly, I truly hope you are feeling better and on the road to a full recovery.

    1. Very revealing, Jon. It helps to have some background on which to frame my feelings, though it probably was useful seeing this film without any prejudices wither way.
      Knowing what I know about yourself (which, admittedly is still limited) I'm not too surprised about what you say. I think that you would also do anything to avoid seeing this film, which is as far removed from a hagiography as it's possible to be. Bt still your views are valuable, so I'm grateful for that.

      Thanks also for asking about my state. As you can see from above (under Sol) I'm not sure that a 'full' recovery will ever be possible. As at now I'm in the middle of waiting to find out from a specialist examination, but the 'marks' of my mishap may well be with me for the remainder of my life, though we'll have to wait and see.
      Thanks once more for enquiring.

  4. I don't think I could watch it, Ray. Such a ridiculous man; he threw away everything yet (as Jon notes) showed no remorse. But of course, Donald Trump is on a roll this week, so maybe that adds to my disgust. I think his latest (and there is always a latest) is that President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He is simply beyond the pale.

    I do hope you are feeling better and your dental work is proceeding well. I know how painful dental visits can be, even for "routine" work, so I wish you the best!


    1. Maybe it helped by knowing next to nothing about the man, Elle - well, apart from the reason he became notorious. If I'd had the foreknowledge that you already had then perhaps I couldn't have stood watching it either.
      Yes, every day delivers another 'gem' from the Trump, which would be funny if he didn't have a reasonable chance of winning, but which would turn the entire saga into a catastrophe plus nightmare. The best that can be said about him is that he's never boring, though I think that even that would be an improvement.

      Thanks for your concern on the after-effects of the tumble, but dental work hasn't even begun yet while I await an appointment with a jaws specialist to ascertain what can and can't be done. I must say that my dentist's early prognosis is that it doesn't look particularly good, both literally and the prospects, though of course it's too early to determine which wy it'll go. The worst could be that I'll remain disfigured for the remainder of my life, but that really is the ultimate.
      There's still a constant dull pain in the gums and lip, both of which are still to some extent swollen, but it's bearable. However it could be nothing when compared to what I'll get once the works start in earnest. I'm trying to keep my apprehension at bay.
      Your wishes are still appreciated, though, as ever.

  5. Curious, the younger folks think of this as 'no big deal' as they point out everyone their age has something like this on the internet. I wondered how any of them could go into politics with this record. They point out few of their generation care. curious indeed.

    1. Have to confess that I also at first didn't care too much about what he'd done - as long as it was consensual - though his subsequent lying while carrying on in the same vein was when I had serious doubts. But I do feel that today's younger generation may well be unfairly burdened by what they did (and do) because of doing what was at one time considered censorious but now much more common - though I do repeat, as long as it was with consent of both parties.