Parents' Guide to

My Scientology Movie

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Riveting and tense docu has frequent cursing.

Movie NR 2015 99 minutes
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In his attempt to penetrate the inner workings of one of the most aggressively secretive religious organizations in the world, Theroux is persona non grata by The Church of Scientology. The journey is the destination in My Scientology Movie, as Theroux must find more creative ways in which to learn what transpires deep within the church. Almost immediately, the sense of fear and paranoia comes through -- foreboding tweets from Theroux's followers warn him to, in so many words, lawyer up and watch his back. An interview with a former Scientologist in Theroux's Los Angeles poolside apartment only increases this paranoia when the actress Paz de la Huerta happens to stroll by and assume Theroux is using his camera phone to film her in a bikini instead of his actual interview subject. What emerges as the film goes on is a sense of tyranny from both the hierarchy as well as its cult-like practices.

While there are some moments of documentary and "reality show" gimmickry -- conflicts heightened for the sake of entertainment, spectacle to show an outcome in which we already know the answer -- the truth of what we know as mere "wogs" (outsiders to Scientology) does broaden despite all of Scientology's stonewalling, bullying, and psychological warfare. Theroux is not cowed by their tactics -- they seem to drive him to dig that much deeper and try that much harder to get an understanding of the hows and whys, the ins and outs, and the methodology employed by Scientologists of all levels.

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