Scientology has been a hot topic lately, with HBO’s documentary and Leah Remini’s tell-all book, but My Scientology Movie brings something different to the subject. British comedian Louis Theroux, a sort of milder answer to John Oliver, teams up with director John Dower to both investigate and dramatize the secretive Church. Inevitably, there are weird, uncomfortable encounters with Scientologists as well as a frequently volatile relationship between Theroux and Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology official who provides assistance to the production.
As part of the project, Theroux and company cast actors as two key Scientology figures: the notoriously secretive and intense David Miscavige, who has run the Church since the death of founder L Ron Hubbard, and Tom Cruise. They don’t wind up doing much with the latter actor, but Miscavige’s doppelganger does bravura work as the hot headed zealot. Highlights include a reenactment of a bizarre Scientology “drill” and a protracted, queasily funny dispute over whether or not a road is public or owned by the Church (!).
I’m both fascinated and appalled by Scientology, so I consider it an important subject for a documentary. Happily, this one is both funny and substantive.
My Scientology Movie screens Friday, April 22 at 6:30pm at the Regal Battery Park Cinema. For more info, go to tribecafilm.com/festival
LQQK Rating: Queerness: 1, one former Scientologist seems gay but the Church's homophobia goes unmentioned, Quality: 4
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