Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox Reviews

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May 12, 2013
There's something that is all at once amusing, disturbing, inspiring, and tragic about Dr. Bronner's story. I use his soaps a lot and the movie helped me understand the mysterious, bizarre labels.
½ February 26, 2013
Passable doc with a few very extraordinary moments. Basically, any moment when Ralph Bronner is just talking to strangers. I could watch a whole documentary of just that.
October 20, 2012
Dr Bronner was simply born ahead of his time, it makes him no less credible as a man. I would have loved to meet him.
October 13, 2012
Him I would believe if he walked into my office and said he was bipolar or schizoaffective. Interesting portrait of an interesting guy.
September 27, 2012
What an interesting story! I'm working on a class advertising campaign for this product so we watched this for research. Great to know there are companies out there like this that exist and have flourished!
½ September 21, 2012
A real schizophrenic movie about the guy behind Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap and his wacky family.
September 2, 2012
Dear Netflix: thank you for carrying this movie that explains why the Bronner family is as crazy and unstable as they truly are.
June 25, 2012
OMG haha cool man!
Edit: 8-25-12
I am about 30 mins into the movie and I love it already. I want to buy more soap now!
April 12, 2012
My favoprite all uses soap! just read the label!
February 25, 2012
DR BRONNER'S MAGIC SOAPBOX is a documentary on the life and thought of Emmanuel Bronner (1908-1997), the German immigrant who made the soap popular with 1960s counter-culture and now alternative people everywhere. Dr. Bronner infamously covered his soap labels with rambling statements in tiny print, preaching the unity of mankind in an "all-one-god religion". This is an individual with a fascinating story, well worth a documentary film. He left Germany before the Holocaust (in which his parents perished), worked as a chemist before being hospitalized in Elgin Asylum, and escaped to California to set up the now-famous soap brand. In the 1940s, he had two sons which grew up in foster care, since their father considered his spiritual calling much more important than a couple of children. Jim and Ralph eventually reconciled with their father and inherited the company.

Filmmaker Sara Lamm has assembled video footage of Dr. Bronner and carried out interviews with his employees and acquaintances, as well as everyday Americans who love his soap. She also follows Ralph (the current owner of the company) as he travels the country, telling stories about his father and turning people on to Dr. Bronner's Soap. While other interviews focus on Dr. Bronner's history of mental illness, Ralph speaks of his father as an eccentric and perennial non-comformist.

Ralph has also tried to emulate his father's sense of idealism, albeit not his religious ideals, and some attention is given to his philantrophic endeavours. It is heartwarming that this head of a multi-million dollar business is so ready to help those he encounters, but I feel that there's too much attention on Ralph's kindness to people in the street, and insufficient attention to the structure of the company. Ralph mentions in passing that it's something of a cooperative endeavour, but we don't really get details.

Still, except for that quibble, I enjoyed this film greatly. It certainly puts the bizarre labels on the bottles into perspective, and makes you muse on the thin line between incapacitating madness and an eccentricity that still spurs a man on to great things.
December 9, 2011
soapy proof that the world is okay sometimes
December 6, 2011
Love the soap because its the best all purpose soap on earth; however, the documentary is actually more about soapboxing than the soap itself, which probably would make Dr Bronner proud.
November 13, 2011
German-born Bronner was institutionalized in Elgin, IL and then creates magic. I'm a fan.
½ November 5, 2011
A blind man escaped from a mental institute, made some soap, and was a super activist...and also liked to tan naked.
October 27, 2011
this movie makes me happy
June 20, 2011
Interesting stuff. Afterwards, I actually went out and bought some Dr. Bronner's soap to try.
May 6, 2011
The first time I ever saw a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap, I thought to myself, "Whoever designed this label has to be nuts". As it turns out I was right. The dude's crazy. But also fascinating and truly intelligent. His son is a rather unique individual as well. Throw in a redhead tattooed musician met in an apartment building hallway, and you have a pretty interesting story. And some killer soap.
½ November 26, 2010
As a fan of his soap for many years now, it was fascinating to see the man behind the crazy label. What a weirdo. I'll still keep buying it, but will never think of it the same way again.
May 29, 2010
...and I thought my dad was eccentric!
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2010
"Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox" is a moderately interesting documentary about Dr. Emmanuel Bronner who left Europe as the Nazis came to power, leaving behind relatives who died in the Holocaust. In America, he founds a successful company which fulfils the basic requirement for the American dream. That does not satisfy him, as he puts his personal philosophy of Moral ABC's and uniting the world on every bottle of soap he sells.(I had never heard of his soap before but then I am so totally ignorant of most consumer products.) And then there is the small matter of him being confined to a mental hospital which he escapes from in 1947, eventually making his way to Los Angeles.(In a promotional photo, he looks exactly like a stereotypical mad scientist.) Did I mention that he never shuts up, even now that he is dead? Or that he was blind? In the present day, his son Ralph continues to spread the word and the soap, as the company continues on, run by Emmanuel's grandsons, providing bonuses and equitable salaries to all of its employees, despite Emmanuel's ardent anti-Communism.
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