Going Clear, Alex Gibney's new documentary about Scientology

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.

The Church of Scientology Is on a Twitter Rampage Against HBO’s Going Clear

The Church Of Scientology is bad at Twitter

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.

I’ll have to wait until it shows up on HBO-GO.

It isn’t available on HBO Canada. I hope it isn’t too long before I can see it.

Now that’s weird. Is it a case of Canadian sensitivities?

i can’t find anything about when it will show in Canada, the UK or elsewhere. If you or anyone else hears, please post. I’ll do the same.

Good review on BBC(.com) about it a week ago or so. Rated 5 stars. Alas, I will have to wait for HBO-GO to see it as well.

And AVclub gave it a solid A.

Looking forward to this. The book was so good I read it in almost one sitting.

I’m looking forward to it.
Their current Twitter feed is hilarious. For a group that has a reputation at being able to psychologically manipulate people, they’re doing a pretty pathetic job of it. They’ve been posting once per hour for 5 hours and the posts consist of pictures of people falling asleep in movie theaters. I guess they think that they’ll convince people that the documentary is to boring to even bother watching.

No way that would be the reason. I’m sure it is based on scheduling or intellectual property issues. Different release dates is not unusual.

Well, that’s probably because the last three people assigned to post to the Twitter account have been severely beaten by Miscavage because HBO has not yet cancelled the showing.

It’s up to 7 pictures now. All of them showing people sleeping in movie theaters.

They need a different theme for their pictures; maybe TVs exploding because they’re tuned to HBO, or may Xenu throwing viewers of the documentary into volcanoes.

I’ve got my DVR set.

Looks like the CoS is doing more to advertise this movie than anyone else.

Ha, Xenu’s their arch enemy, so He’s probably cackling with glee at this big old bale of straws being dumped on the camel’s back. He’d sit and watch it with “Suppressive People” and have a grand old time. Though, admittedly he’d probably bogart the popcorn, and then throw them into a volcano anyway just for fun. He is an Evil Galactic Warlord and an asshole, after all.

Got my popcorn, got my drink, got Twitter #GoingClear in one window, Tony Ortega’s live blog blog in another window, and HBO in a 3rd. I’m tingling with excitement.

Tony’s blog earlier getting the reactions of 75 former members and people who have fought for the truth about this cult seeing the light of day is very powerful.

Here’s a brief but potent overview from Vox about why the excitement level is so high.

Saw the interview on Bill Maher’s show a few weeks ago. I have my DVR set.

That was extremely powerful. Even though I knew most of it, I still cried at several points because reading about something and actually hearing these people talk about these things is a completely different experience. I was so engrossed I barely glanced at #GoingClear and didn’t read Ortega’s feed at all. I am going to go back and read it all now.

I hope everyone gets a chance to see it at some point in the future, even if they have to wait for Vimeo or the DVD.

Anyone who sees it, know this. The movie, and the book, didn’t touch a fraction of the horror stories that are out there. As bad as it looks, it’s much much worse than you can imagine.

I’ve had a hunch for years that people like Travolta and maybe Cruise were somehow being blackmailed.

Did you watch the documentary? I only caught maybe the last 30 minutes but to me, it seemed the very opposite of being blackmailed. It seemed as if people like Cruise reaped incredible benefits from their involvement in Scientology and were treated as gods by the Church, in exchange for the high-profile exposure that such celebrity membership to the “church” provided.

Both Cruise and Travolta have always seemed kinda weak-minded to me. Plus, as Movie Stars, susceptible to flattery. And gay rumors have followed both.
They seem like weak reeds on which to market a religion. They’re about as compelling as Bob Hope.