As Anthony Weiner mounted a bid for mayor of New York City in 2013 following his spectacular flameout in the U.S. Congress amid a tawdry sex scandal, he and Huma Abedin, his wife, allowed a documentary film crew to follow almost every aspect of their lives. The hope was that the finished product would depict an inspiring comeback story, but instead resulted in another tale chronicling Weiner’s unprecedented second fall from grace. The New York Times got an early look at the film, titled Weiner, ahead of its debut at the Sundance Film Festival and has described it, among other things, as “juicy.” The stakes are set high at the outset of the film. “Did Huma want you to go back into politics?” Weiner is asked by one of the filmmakers. “She did,” he responded. “She was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her.” But Weiner set fire to that campaign by engaging in several more tawdry exchanges with women over social media and, memorably, using the name “Carlos Danger.” What follows is a series of embarrassments after the exchanges were made public: Viewers see Weiner, in a McDonald’s, fleeing from a woman with whom he’d exchanged sexually-charged text messages; repeated questions about how Abedin was able to forgive Weiner after the first sex scandal are asked; and numerous clips of late-night comedians mocking the absurdity of the entire affair are shown.
In addition to being extremely uncomfortable viewing for Weiner and Abedin, the film also has the potential to impact Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Abedin, of course, is one of Clinton’s most trusted aides and the timing of the film, as Clinton deals with her husband’s past dalliances while trying to maintain her frontrunner status, is almost as bad as possible. It opens in theaters on May 20 and is set to make its premiere on Showtime in October, just weeks before Election Day. The filmmakers, one of whom is a former Weiner staffer, have so far refused to allow Abedin and Weiner to see it.
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