I’m so excited for this! Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, based on Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name. It’s been playing in a few theaters for an Oscar-qualifying run, and will start playing on HBO (as I type this, the first of many showings will be tomorrow evening, Sunday March 29).
Since it didn’t open wide there aren’t that many reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s at 93% Fresh, and 100% with Top 10 Critics. It’s rated 9.0 at IMDB (linked above). There are dozens and dozens more great reviews and articles out there but no one as yet has put them all into one place.
The movie played to a sold-out crowd at the Sundance Film Festival in January, then to a sold-out crowd at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin. It opened in theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, although to be eligible for an Oscar nomination next year it only needed to play commercially in Los Angeles County for 7 days.
I haven’t yet seen the documentary (hurry, tomorrow!) but I have read Lawrence Wright’s book, and I expect a lot to be cut out and skimmed over. Wright himself had to cut out or skim over dozens of topics that themselves would be worth full-lenghth books and/or movies (such as Paulette Copper’s Operation Freakout nightmare, which actually is getting its own book in May, called The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, by Tony Ortega), so Gibney had to pick and choose carefully what he wanted to focus on. He chose a select few former Scientologists to tell their stories, including filmmaker Paul Haggis, former spokesperson Mike Rinder, former 2nd in command and “enforcer” Mark “Marty” Rathbun, actor Jason Beghe, plus former Scientologists Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor, Tom DeVocht, Sara Goldberg, Hana Eltringham Whitfield and Marc Headley. Also interviewed are Tony Ortega and Lawrence Wright himself. Gibney requested interviews with current Scientologists pertinent to his film, such as David Miscavige, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, among others, but was refused.
Needless to say, Scientology is now whining that their side wasn’t presented in the movie and are trying to smear all the people in the film. Their attack ads on Twitter have merited a couple of funny articles by themselves.
I think anyone who has any interest at all in this cult should watch the documentary, if you have HBO or friends with HBO. It will be on Vimeo in September and I’ll bet it’s out on DVD before the end of the year.
Btw, any attempts to derail the thread/deflect the attention of readers with anything akin to “All religions are bad” or “When’s the expose of Morminism (or other) coming out?” or anything designed to get people talking about something other than the movie, the book it’s based on, or Scientology in general, will automatically get that sign turned on over your head, with a big arrow pointing down, flashing SCIENTOLOGIST SCIENTOLOGIST SCIENTOLOGIST. Go start your own thread. I’ve been reading all the articles and reading all the Comments sections, and it’s so obvious when the Scienos show up.
Tory Christman is a former Scientologist who left after 30 years. While in the cult, her job at one time was to look for anyone discussing anything about Scientology on the internet and interject herself. She’s proof that people are paid or ordered to do that.