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The Source Family (2013)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 252

My Rating

Movie Info

It's 1971 and communes and new religions are on the rise. The Source Family are an "Aquarian tribe," a secretive but outlandish group of 140 beautiful young people who stroll Los Angeles in colorful robes, devotees of "Father Yod," a controversial restaurateur-turned-spiritual leader with fourteen wives and his own psychedelic rock band. The Family lives in a mansion and operates a popular restaurant on the Sunset Strip, serving vegetarian cuisine to musicians and movie stars, pioneering a

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (5)

The former disciples interviewed here, now mostly professionals or entrepreneurs in New Agey businesses, seem frank about their leader's excesses, but the wild subject matter cries out for a more objective treatment.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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[An] artfully executed and engrossing documentary ...

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Baker's transformation from "spiritual father" to megalomaniac follows a familiar path of brainwashing and hedonism ...

May 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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While the movie isn't up to much more than illustrating how far his reach extends (two of the commune members live in Yelm, Thurston County), it's a very agreeable entertainment.

May 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Great stories don't always make for great documentaries, although it's easy to confuse the two.

May 2, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille's disturbing film is an object lesson in psychological manipulation.

April 30, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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An entertaining and fascinating documentary about the Southern California cult that 'transformed sex, drugs and rock and roll into a genuine religious formation.'

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Thanks to a wealth of actual Family footage...and the availability of willing interviewees, the portrait that is painted is deep, is a little incomplete.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Even bizarre ramblings deserve recognition when, for whatever reason, they united people looking for something no one else was selling.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: RedEye
RedEye

Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille's evocative documentary The Source Family takes us inside the ultimate California commune, from the early days of bliss to the cult-like twists and ultimate dissolution of the dream.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Montreal Gazette
Montreal Gazette

The research and elucidating synthesis on display effectively illuminate the pernicious aura of a lifestyle pursued by the yearning, lost souls of the time.

May 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Directors Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille take a rewarding, even-handed approach, revisiting an Apollonian flip side to the Dionysian dystopias of Charles Manson or Jim Jones.

May 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

There seem to be many missed opportunities for some excitement in a bland film.

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Fascinating. Equally entertaining and informative.

May 6, 2013 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

The upside of cult living? Sort of.

May 1, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

One of the most detailed looks at the inner workings of an American cult ever assembled.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The Washingtonian
The Washingtonian

Topical and worthwhile, it deserves to find an audience - even if you might struggle to catch it in Saudi Arabia.

May 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

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