Louis Theroux – My Scientology Movie

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR SO LONG. The other night, we got the pleasure to attend the screening of Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie along with an exclusive Q+A screened live after the film from the Southbank Centre to a number of cinemas within the UK. If you’ve lived under a rock or you are of the youngest generation, you may have not heard of Theroux before but you only need to go on Netflix to find a wealth of documentaries from his earlier days of journalism. He covered controversial topics such as Neo Nazi’s, pornstars and the Westboro Baptist Church (what a bunch of idiots). His matter of fact attitude is what makes him so likeable and he gives these individuals a platform to tell their story on and most of the time, they end up painting themselves in a less than positive light.

My Scientology Movie is one he’s been working on for a few years now and had led him to move from London to Los Angeles to do further research on the world of Scientology. Scientology for me has always been a little vague. I didn’t fully know the extent of the purpose of it. Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, it is a body of religious beliefs and practices created in 1954. Hubbard was a sci-fi writer, hence why some of Scientology’s themes centres around extra-terrestrial beliefs and the theory that we live multiple lives. Everyone who signs up for Scientology, genuinely believes that they are part of something that will save the world.

After Hubbard’s death, the position of ‘leader‘ was taken over by a man named David Miscavige and he is the central focus of Theroux’s movie.

Andrew Perez (centred) played the role of David Miscavige in Theroux’s film

Theroux mentioned that he tried several times to arrange contact with David and the rest of the hierarchy but to no avail so the team had to think of a different way of getting their attention.

Working with ex-scientologists, mainly a man called Mark Rathbun, they delved into the world of Scientology by re-creating scenes that Mark and the others would say had happened during their time with David Miscavige. They hired actors to play certain roles and it was interesting to see the certain conditioning and exercises that would take place. Very quickly, those involved in Scientology quickly became interested in what Theroux was up to and began stalking him and his team, filming their movements to which Theroux jokingly played them back at their own games.

What I loved about this movie is that you came out of it wanting to know more. As humans, we have that natural childlike urge that when someone keeps something from us or tells us ‘no don’t do that‘ that 9 times out of 10, we actually want to do disobey and do the opposite. Theroux was a prime example and by refusing to stop filming, he was actually gaining more information from the Scientologists than he would have if he did stop. Theroux’s past research on other topics have left him with a wealth of information to use. With Scientology, there is so little out there (without actually going into a centre to sign up), that he had to use a lot of the spectacle of it all within the film. Myself and my housemate had a discussion about this after debating whether he’d gone too ‘Hollywood‘ with his productions.

The Q&A that followed afterwards was an exciting one. Screened from the Southbank Centre, on walked Louis Theroux and even not being in the same room as him, you could tell his personality is exactly what you see on screen. It was only meant to be a 45 minute session but it did go on for just over an hour, but no-one was complaining!

If you’ve always had a curiosity of Scientology, then go and see this film. Likewise if you love Louis’ blunt and somewhat comedic behaviour then you will find this film very entertaining. It’s on at most cinemas and more information can be found here.

Have you seen the film? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

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