Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief


Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Critics Consensus

Thoroughly disquieting but impossible to ignore, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a searing investigative work from a master documentarian.



Reviews Counted: 91

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Average Rating: 4.2/5

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Movie Info

Directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney and based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, Going Clear profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology-whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities-shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, detailing their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion. One of the most talked about films at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this powerful documentary highlights the Church's origins, from its roots in the mind of founder L. Ron Hubbard to its rise in popularity in Hollywood and beyond. Going Clear is a provocative tale of ego, exploitation, and lust for power. (C) HBO

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Critic Reviews for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (24)

  • It's not a sense of outrage that viewers are left with. It's sadness.

    Sep 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Even if half of Gibney's film was to be considered tainted, the work of people who have scores to settle, it would be hard to dismiss. They can't all be liars.

    Jun 18, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Gibney ... has a gift for showing the workings of complex social systems, and he lays things out clearly and in a well-aced fashion ...

    May 8, 2015 | Full Review…
  • You couldn't call Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief entertaining, exactly, but it is absolutely riveting.

    May 7, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Liz Braun

    Toronto Sun
    Top Critic
  • While he doesn't really uncover much that's new in "Going Clear," the way he's collected and assembled testimonials, documents and archival footage creates a cumulative effect that's chilling.

    Apr 6, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Whether you come away seeing Scientology as a cult that ensnares vulnerable people or as a faith of self-empowerment, the film leaves a terrible taste of too much information. This must be its point, but take heed just the same.

    Apr 3, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

The definitive documentary on what is really going on within Scientology's closed doors. A fascinating eye opener.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


An appalling and terrifying documentary that exposes the horrific truth behind this abusive cult created by a ridiculously delusional man who discovered the most ingenious way to brainwash so many incredibly stupid people into becoming willing prisoners of his lucrative sham.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Scientology is a supposed religion, and a topic that is often mocked for its philosophy, demonized for its tactics, and written off for its immobility. What many people are unaware of is that this theoretical religion is actually much more powerful than you would be led to believe. Read more at http://www.bluefairyblog.com/reviews/2015/4/8/going-clear

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

An arresting, disturbing documentary on the Church of Scientology told by former members who decided to leave at different points in time for various reasons. This is an interesting perspective for a documentary concerning the subject of religion, especially one that is so prevalent in Hollywood. The filmmakers do an excellent job collecting many different stories and viewpoints from those they speak to, and the result is a horrifying exercise of religious exploitation of power. The manipulation and abuse that infects this religion is very concerning, and it will be especially fascinating to watch the public's response to this movie once more people get the opportunity to watch it.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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