Sunday, January 29, 2017

Now on Netflix: Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru (2016)

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru (2016) - Directed by Joe Berlinger.

By Kenny Howell

It's hard to know what to think about Tony Robbins.

Before going into this documentary, which was done by a very good filmmaker in Joe Berlinger, I had the opinion of Robbins as being this kind of silly persuasive man taking advantage of depressed individuals who want to do better. I didn't think he was a bad man, just advantageous.

And after watching Tony Robbins: I'm Not Your Guru, that is still sort of there, but I also totally get it. The people are crazy at times, and they do look ridiculous. But Robbins is definitely a showman. However, the fact that people are paying thousands of dollars to spend a week with him is kind of troubling. But then you see him perform and help people, and he is quite good at it. He is a motivator for a reason, and his heart, for the most part seems to be in the right place.

Berlinger (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills), who attended one his seminars and persuaded him to make a film about them, pretty much lets this place out as an infomercial for Robbins. This is the first time one of Robbins' seminars have been filmed. We see long, extended scenes of him interacting with people at his events, and basically get to see why these people are paying so much money. They definitely could have been trimmed because this film is close to two hours, and it definitely didn't need to be since a lot of the same ground is covered throughout the film.

That is kind of the rub of the movie too, because I know I am not the only one that is skeptical of Robbins, though I don't think he has any sort of malice to him. But making that much money off of these events brings the question at least up. There is one woman in this film named Dawn, who had an unbelievably tragic backstory, who sold everything she owned just to attend. That doesn't seem right, but she does seem to get real help from Robbins, not to mention large cash donations for herself and her cause. I think Berlinger could have delved into this issue of whether Robbins is a saint or a scammer a little deeper, but he decided to stay away, and it still leaves asking questions.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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