The most important thing you need to know about the documentary Weiner doesn’t come until the very end, in the movie’s credits: it was financed in part with a grant from the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute.
Soros and the Sundance film Festival had a documentary fund for twenty years.
Knowing that the film was paid for by one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest boosters explains another thing you need to know about the movie: Audiences are supposed to think that Anthony Weiner is a flawed and sometimes pathetic, often comical politician who nonetheless is a real fighter on important issues such as helping the middle class. They are also supposed to think that his wife, top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, is a brilliant, beautiful political insider who was done wrong by Anthony Weiner.
The point of the movie and the apparent reason for the funding seems to be to give Anthony Weiner a future in TV punditry and to give Huma Abedin a future in politics.
To accomplish that goal, Weiner is myth-making of a high order. As I said to the filmmakers during the Q&A session following a Sunday night screening in Salt Lake City, by default this film becomes the official telling of the story.
The film starts playing on Showtime sometime later this year and then will live on forever online and on services like Netflix. So unless another film comes along to tell the counter narrative, the Soros-funded filmmakers version of the Weiner sext scandals could become the enduring myth.
Taken on those terms, Weiner is a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
It’s fun, well paced and perfectly structured. There are a number of moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, often at Weiner’s expense. It’s absolutely fascinating to see a political scandal break behind the scenes, reality TV style.
The left has controlled culture for decades, and knows what it’s doing. The film succeeds completely as entertainment, fascinating character study and political propaganda.
Where it fails utterly is telling the truth about Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin. The audience won’t know that, however.
Putting together a 90-minute documentary takes a tremendous amount of material. For every minute that ends up on the screen, there are dozens that end up on the cutting room floor. These choices are invisible to the audience, who has no idea what material the filmmakers had access to.
The very first thing audiences see in Weiner is a quote from media theorist Marshall McLuhan: The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.
Believe it or not, this is actually one of the operative themes of the movie: that what happened to Anthony Weiner was largely a result of him having a funny last name.
Incidentally, this is something that Anthony Weiner himself has said a number of times in interviews. Perhaps not coincidentally, filmmaker Josh Kriegman is a former aide to Weiner. Kriegman is credited as the film’s producer and director along with Elyse Steinberg.
The movie opens by establishing Anthony Weiner as a gutsy no-nonsense Democrat, passionate to fight for the little guy. Foe example, we see Wiener shouting on the floor of Congress to protect the health care rights of 9/11 rescuers.
This opening is compelling, but for anyone who knows the real history of that bill it is also a clear sign that the filmmakers are going to play fast and loose with the truth.
As even left-wing news site Talking Point Memo admitted in 2010, fact that “the Dems used a procedural trick that was ultimately the cause of the bill’s failure.”
The opening 10 minutes of the film become an often hilarious overview of the downfall of Weiner’s congressional career over the first sexting scandal. Much of the humor comes from people making fun of Anthony Weiner’s name. This section is more or less factually accurate, although it completely leaves out any reference to Andrew Breitbart or Breitbart News, including the fact that Weiner attempted to blame Andrew Breitbart for the lewd photo that was sent to a college student or that Weiner was forced to apologize to him publicly later.
Then the film segues into Anthony Weiner’s attempted at a political comeback when he ran for mayor of New York. This is where the film swerves toward becoming an infomercial for Huma Abedin.
Although Huma is a top aide to Hillary Clinton and has been at her side for 20 years, the public knows very little about her. The film acknowledges this. At one point when Abedin is fundraising, Anthony Weiner introduces her by saying that watching her speak must be similar to when people first saw Charlie Chaplin talk after years of silent films.
In the first half hour of Wiener, Huma is lovely and doe eyed but also clearly a slick, professional political operative. In one scene, Huma and Weiner are seen making fundraising phone calls.
Glaringly, however, the film does not depict a couple passionately in love. There is one scene of public handholding and a couple of perfunctory kisses, but this glimpse at the Abedin/Weiner relationship seems to reveal a professional connection more than a personal one, despite their omnipresent cute toddler.
Just like any well-structured film, at the half hour point the first act is over and the story veers in a different direction, as Wiener’s second sexing scandal comes to life just a couple of months before the New York mayoral primary.
For anyone familiar with the Weiner story, however, the film now goes off track.
The filmmakers try to make it appear that new photos had appeared of Anthony Weiner from prior incidents that happened when he was a congressman. They show two photos that had been brought to light by Andrew Breitbart, although again no credit was given and no timeframe is mentioned.
In reality, the second scandal happened when a woman named Sydney Leathers came forward and revealed that Weiner had begun an online sexual relationship with her eight or nine months after he’d been forced to resign.
The movie gets extremely fuzzy on this timeline, and even the number of women that Weiner was involved with. The movie seems to bury the story that Weiner is apparently admitting that he was involved with more than just Leathers.
Anthony Weiner comes off very badly in this section of the movie, as he’s seen to have no sense of self-awareness.
In one amazing sequence, Weiner is castigated on MSNBC by Lawrence O’Donnell but aggressively fights back. Later, Weiner is seen watching the sequence online and grinning at what a great job he’d done on the show while wife Huma stands by. But of course, Weiner had embarrassed himself on the show and seems completely unaware of it. Huma asks him why he smiling and it one point says that she can’t take anymore and leaves. Anthony Weiner is left alone in the room, still grinning at himself.
Weiner’s complete emptiness as a human being is shown a number of times and is one of the reasons that the documentary, despite being a fable in may ways, is well worth watching. Towards the end of the film, Weiner actually admits that he prefers shallow relationships and says this may be one of the reasons he went into politics. It’s as close as Weiner ever gets to real self-awareness and is a wider point applied to political leaders, it’s frightening.
The biggest transformation after the film’s first half hour belongs to Huma Abedin; she stopped smiling. In shot after shot, she is shown frowning and unhappy. One can’t help but feeling sympathy for her, which is exactly the point. The filmmakers successfully make Huma into a victim.
Her sadness, however, doesn’t appear to be for her marriage but for her career. There is no indication of a personal loss here, but of a professional one. There is no point where she looks to Weiner and says anything along the lines of “you need to get out of politics because it’s destructive to your soul and to our relationship.”
Also notable is the film’s portrayal of Sydney Leathers as slutty, crazed stalker, which is straight out of the Bill and Hillary Clinton “bimbo corruptions” playbook on Monica Lewinsky. It’s a disturbing pattern among Democrat politicians. It’s the same playbook that was used on John Edwards mistress and mother of his child Rielle Hunter.
Time after time, this is what Democrat politicians do to the women they have been sexually involved with when scandals break. The politicians saw nothing wrong with these women as long as they were sexually using them, but as soon scandal erupts they suddenly become slutty crazed stalkers.
The play works because no one ever steps up to defend these women. Republicans don’t want to defend the women because they are liberals and they’ve made questionable moral choices. Democrats, including feminists, defend the male politicians and actually castigate their sexual partners.
Whether you agree with the politics or life choices of these women, realize the predicament they are in.
In every one of these cases there is a key power imbalance – access to media. When a powerful Democrat politician like Clinton, Edwards or Wiener blatantly lies to the media about their relationships, they get the benefit of the doubt. The media actually protects them.
This pattern happened in every single one of these cases to Lewinsky, Hunter and Weiner’s women. The Democrats lied over and over and the liberal media ate it up. It was only after absolute physical proof came out – a stained blue dress, an identifiable nude photograph, a baby – that the media began to say “oh, gee… I guess maybe the woman wasn’t lying.”
Wiener performs a post-facto hit on Leathers. It aims to make a hero-victim out of Huma, and a crazed stalker out of Leathers.
The film gives Weiner a platform to lie. At one point, in explaining what happened with his multiple sexting partners, he claims that he was asked for a photo first. False; in every case that I’m aware of, he made the first move.
In the closing credits of the film, Anthony Weiner is shown on a number of TV shows performing as a self-effacing political pundit. If you agree with his politics, he’s good at it and ultimately the film becomes a sizzle reel for him.
Filmmakers know that audiences are unlikely to do hours of research themselves. Filmmakers also know that by its nature, film is a a highly sympathetic medium where people emotionally identify with the protagonist.
Although Weiner is the main character, it’s Huma who is the film’s real identifiable protagonist. She is the one that audiences will identify with. It’s her future— and by extension Hillary’s — that the film seems really concerned with.
Of course the film makes no mention at all of Huma’s controversial background and associations, nor her complicity in enabling Weiner and his political ambitions above any apparent concern for their personal life.
For decades, conservatives sat by helplessly while the media falsely portrayed them. Today, Americans are clearly undergoing an awakening and realizing just how much they’ve been lied to by the news media and popular culture.
A film like Weiner is well-made, compelling propaganda to promote Democrats. Because of Andrew Breitbart’s involvement in Anthony Weiner’s story, people have access to the truth. Because of the growth of sites like Breitbart News, a new American alternative media and cultural environment is possible.
Today, when a film like Weiner makes it in front of a mass audience, we will be ready for it. So stay tuned..there will be a wealth of information about Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner that runs counter to the Wiener narrative, information that people can access for themselves and make up their own minds.