A while ago I watched one of Louis Theroux’s BBC documentaries Louis and the Brothel (2003), and right after that I found myself looking for more of his hilarious charisma. Lucky me, because he released a new film called My Scientology Movie. In this documentary, he infiltrates one of the most secretive churches through a smart and alternative way – making this film quite unique! Not because of its aim, but because, at the end, the Church of Scientology unwillingly provided all the pieces to make this documentary a truly informative and entertaining one.
For this film, Louis Theroux goes to Los Angeles to find out more about the violent events that involved the leader of Scientology (David Miscavige) and other members. Originally, Theroux had the idea of bringing nuance and understanding to the popular view of the Church of Scientology, as he had requested to film from within the church. He wanted to show a divergent view from the negative perspective on this church that has been established and emphasized by documentaries such as Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015, dir. Alex Gibney), which shows facts and testimonies of insiders. Despite Theroux’s good intentions, he was turned down.
His version of the Church of Scientology is a fascinating one. Theroux together with the former inspector general of this church (Marty Rathbun) cast actors to play the leader of Scientology and Tom Cruise (as many know – one of the most popular Scientology followers). As Theroux attempts to make his own film about Scientology, the organization behind it tries to come in-between by making their own ‘documentary’ about Theroux’s documentary, and by threatening Marty Rathbun.
The film was expected to be released a year ago, since the screening at the London Film Festival in 2015 and at Tribeca in April of the same year, but it didn’t make it to the big screen until October 2016.
So, if you are a fan of Louis Theroux’s sub-cultures adventures, a film lover, or just curious about Scientology, check out My Scientology Movie – a documentary that won’t disappoint!
Cover image: Screenshot My Scientology Movie – Messages on Twitter that warn Theroux of the possible danger he could encounter.