Entertainment Magazine

Do You Want Gossip Or Insight From Alex Gibney’s Scientology Documentary Going Clear?

Posted on the 24 February 2015 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

In the early 90s, two actors I liked- Kirstie Alley, John Travolta - came to my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. I wanted to go see them just so I could say I'd kind of met them, but I wasn't allowed because they were actually just in town to help dedicate the opening of something called a Church of Scientology Mission. I had no idea what that was, but everyone in town I heard talking about it referred to it as some kind of Hollywood cult. I didn't so much care about that. I just knew that I really liked Kirstie Alley in Cheers, and loved her with John Travolta in Look Who's Talking. Ten years later South Park's infamous 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet" aired and informed everyone what Scientologists actually believe:

Well, it's been another decade since that episode aired, and now Alex Gibney ( Taxi to the Dark Side, The Armstrong Lie, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) has a buzzy documentary on the way called Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, based on Lawrence Wright's book of the same name. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is now scheduled to premiere on HBO on Sunday, March 9, at 8 PM. Here's the first trailer:

Going Clear features vintage footage of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard as well as rare sequences shot inside Scientology gatherings. However, considering how much Scientology has been such a wall of secrets over the years thus leading to a wide variety of especially salacious rumors it seems only natural that the main thing audiences might want to get out of Going Clear are juicy details. Did Tom Cruise basically keep Katie Holmes hostage for years? Is John Travolta really gay? If that's what you want you're might be disappointed. Some at Sundance were disappointed with Going Clear just as a documentary, arguing you were better off just reading Wright's book. Others thought it was an remarkably potent bit of filmmaking. Others simply did the dirty work for us and listed all the doc's biggest bombshells:

  • It is implied that Travolta is gay, and has been blackmailed about that by the Church for decades.
  • The Church reportedly sabotaged Tom Cruise's marriage to Nicole Kidman because her father is a psychologist, a big no-no in Scientology land.
  • Cruise was apparently influenced to actually wiretap Kidman's phones toward the end of their marriage.
  • After the breakup with Kidman, the Church repeatedly groomed young Hollywood actresses to be Cruise's next bride.
  • One former top official says Scientology's leader privately mocks Cruise's "perverse sex-life," whatever that means.

As you'd expect, the Church has denounced the documentary, claiming it is all based on previously invalidated reports even though Gibney did interview multiple former Church members on camera for Going Clear, including Crash director Paul Haggis. Also as you'd probably expect, Gibney says the point was not to simply feed the world multiple National Enquirer "Tom Cruise is really so..." headlines. There are an increasing number of allegations that the Church utilizes forced labor and other forms of abuse, and former officials say the only thing that will put an end to it will be the IRS stripping the Church of its nonprofit status or megaphones like Cruise and Travolta turning against it.

But, to Gibney Going Clear is about more than just Scientology. He told The Hollywood Reporter, "You can see how abusive institutions get when they have a lot of power and money and when they become guided by a small group of people at the top, perhaps even one person [...] It's really hard-wired into all of us, the psychology of wanting to find certainty in faith that allows you to do the most reprehensible things because you believe the ends justify the means." However, I am left wondering if we really want to probe that deeply into something like Scientology, or if we just really want to see if the Tabloids have been right for all of these years.

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief will premiere on HBO on Sunday, March 9, at 8 PM

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • FFS Friday - Emergency Tribe

    I've mentioned before that I feel alone most of the time, like I don't have a tribe. Over the last few weeks I've come to realise that whilst I don't have an... Read more

    11 hours, 47 minutes ago by   Glossqueen
  • Joshua’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2018 – Pop/Rock!

    Joshua’s Most Listened Albums 2018 Pop/Rock!

    I listened to a lot of fun music in 2018, some of it brand new, some of it holding over from years past, and some really in a kind of rediscovery way. And as... Read more

    20 hours, 32 minutes ago by   Phjoshua
  • Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park in California

    Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park California

    Sequoia National Park is one of my favorite parks in the entire U.S. system. It is an utterly spectacular wilderness that has a lot to offer visitors,... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kungfujedi
  • Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    One of my favourite stories about Evelyn de Morgan is when her sister, Mrs Anna Stirling visited the Russell-Cotes at Gallery and saw their massive painting... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kirsty Stonell Walker
  • Give The Tennis Gift That Keeps On Giving: Court Crate

    Give Tennis Gift That Keeps Giving: Court Crate

    I only know one person who actually enjoys spending hours (and hours, and hours…) at crowded stores in search of the best deals on tennis-y Christmas gifts…yeah... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Jen Campbell
  • Gifts For The Beauty Lover–No Matter What Your Budget Is

    Whether your shopping for your mom who wants a luxurious facial serum, a friend who loves nail polish, or your girlfriend who asked for a new blush... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
  • Adjusting Obsessions

    Adjusting Obsessions

    Things are going to be quite different around these parts going forward. Obsessions have adjusted and I figured it was time to update my blog to match my curren... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Seliharris