Not enough documentary trailers are as excitable as the new spot for Weiner. This film, the feature debut of of Elyse Streinberg and Josh Kriegman, definitely deserves to be marketed so well, not just because it's one of the best nonfiction features of the year but also because it is indeed as fast paced and funny as it looks.
The name in the title belongs to Anthony Weiner, the former U.S. congressman who resigned amid a sexting scandal. He allowed cameras to follow him in 2013 as he attempted a comeback run for mayor of New York City (Kriegman had previously worked for Weiner as an aide), and as you might know from the news of the time, that didn't go so well.
The trailer hints at some of the best parts of the documentary where Weiner seems to question why he agreed to do the film. Watch it here:
If all the high praise mentioned in the trailer isn't enough, here's another blurb from our own Erik Davis: "You’ve never been this close and intimate with a political scandal, as Weiner … allows cameras to capture the dismantling of his campaign (and marriage) in startling detail." Davis saw the doc at Sundance, where it won a Grand Jury Prize.
I don't agree with a certain quote in the trailer, but I do think it's one of the best political films ever made and is very much the one we need right now, for all its focus on overmediated candidates and how such coverage can build up and tear down with equal measure. I also love how much Weiner is more accepting than regretful, how he understands the pros and cons a doc like this can entail.
The one thing the trailer doesn't emphasize enough, however, is the significance and presence of Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife and currently vice chairwoman on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Weiner may be the primary character of the film, but she is the most interesting if not also the more compelling of the two.
Weiner will continue to thrill audiences on the festival circuit in the next few weeks and then hits theaters in just under a month, on May 20. See it.