What on earth was he thinking? I’m not just talking about congressman Anthony Weiner’s impulse to post anonymous d— pics on Twitter back in 2011. Or his attempt to deny something so easily provable. No, I mean why would the freshly disgraced politician give a documentary film crew an all-access pass to his 2013 comeback run for New York City mayor? That’s the mystery looming behind every scene in this jaw-dropping portrait of one unfortunately named man’s ambition and hubris. The irony is that Weiner, a fiery narcissist with a self-destructive streak, might have actually done some good in office if he’d only had the sense to get out of his own way. But we’ll never know. As a chronicle of thepolitical process (the heckling, the glad-handing, the soul-sucking fund-raising calls) and of the chum-hungry press corps that feeds on it, Weiner is fascinating. Still, the real draw here is watching a guy lie to himself and those around him as he blithely walks straight into quicksand (despite a neon sign saying “Beware Quicksand!”). When an inevitable second sexting scandal erupts in the midst of the mayoral campaign, any sympathy you might’ve had for Weiner shifts to his long-suffering wife (high-powered Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin). Why does she stay with him? Is it out of ambition, love, or something harder to explain? Either way, if this soap opera wasn’t real, you’d never believe it. A–

  • Movie
  • 90 minutes