Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
Granted unprecedented access, Berlinger captures renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins behind the scenes of his mega seminar Date with Destiny, pulling back the curtain on this life-altering and controversial event, the zealous participants and the man himself.
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★★★★ review by FilmApe on Letterboxd
This is just a concert film of one of self improvement coach Tony Robbin's "Date With Destiny" six day courses. The intention with it is to show how positive and uplifiting Robbins' courses can be, and if you buy into what he is selling, than this film will work for you. For myself, I watch it the same way that some may watch a magician to discover how the tricks are done, with an eye for the formula and methods that Robbins' uses is order to influence people and make them feel that the five thousand bucks (plus expenses) that they paid to participate in the seminar, was worth it.
It's obvious that Robbins knows people, and how to interact with them. What he is doing is performing, and he is very good at it. He knows to maintain eye contact with those he is addressing individually. He knows when to be passive aggressive, and when to be loving. Given his stature, he seems to be completely aware of how his body moves, and how his body language affects other people. Watching him do his thing is impressive, but it is still definitely a thing. While he states that he truly cares about helping people, in the end these people are paying a large sum of money for his help, and I find it near impossible to overlook that fact. These people attending Robbins' seminar are purchasing a product, that product being solutions to the problems of life that ail all of us, and while I am very skeptical as to whether this seminar has the ability to truly be life changing, for the 6 days that people are immersed in Tony Robbins' world, they do seem to receive some temporary solace from their problems, as well as hope for the future.
The sort of life altering, community building, me focused self help seminars that Tony Robbins does are definitely not for me. I believe that we need to be very aware of who is influencing how we think (believe nothing that I write, and think for yourself), especially when it comes to crafting a satisfying life. This concert film offers a glimpse into what Robbins' does, and given that it can be seen for only the price of Netflix membership, it is a steal of a deal compared to the cost of the actual seminar. If this kind of stuff is of interest to you, whether because you are searching for help, or just looking to put on your thinking cap and dissect what Robbins' does, than this film is worth a watch.
★★★½ review by Ari on Letterboxd
Not having read reviews but knowing Berlinger’s other work, I expected an exposé of a self-help huckster. Berlinger, documentary crusader of the truth, will go behind the curtain and reveal the charlatan that Tony Robbins is. Isn’t exposing the rich and powerful, the vain and the venal, one of the strengths of documentary film? It's not like we are not talking about someone who has gotten rich off the suffering of others, a man with a net worth of a half billion dollars who got his start selling quick fixes on omnipresent informercials from my youth with banal self-help platitudes of empty promise (life changes in a moment et all). And Robbins is the perfect target – a larger-than-life figure (almost literally, he's huge!) who combines empty new age self-help mantras with the demeanour of an aggressive football coach complete with motivational expletives.
Yet the film is totally soft on Robbins, basking in his evident healing power, insight, empathy, and charisma. But here is where the film is actually interesting, I think, or at least challenging to viewers like myself who went in with blanket disdain for self-help culture. Does it matter if Robbins is peddling nonsense, if his nonsense actually appears to help people? And despite his vast fortune which could sully his motives, he also genuinely appears motivated by a concern for helping people, even if this may mean that he is such a good con man that he even conned the filmmakers. While I would have liked a more critical or nuanced take on his self-help empire, I can appreciate the film for challenging my own preconceptions and biases. At the very least, I can see his appeal for so many people.
★★★★½ review by Jon Huddleston on Letterboxd
This is a really good documentary. Turns out Tony Robbins is the real deal.
★★★½ review by Steven Murtagh on Letterboxd
Fascinating insight into a gifted conman/spiritual guru, which reveals much through its lack of direct confrontation with the subject matter.
★★★★½ review by Tedcoolguy7 on Letterboxd
Tony Robbins's one on one interactions with people that paid 6,000 or so to spend 6 12 hour days at his seminar are mesmerizing. As is the layered information gathering complexity and communication self evaluating of his entire operation.
The therapeutic breakthrough moments and decision. are inherently informed by the performance/crowd aspect of his seminar but what's said never not feel like basic truth.
Berlinger's film has been criticized as an infomercial and I'm not sure that's fair. As compelling an earnest Tony Robbins seems there is no way in hell I'd want to be around his crowd of admirers and subject to the forced participation.
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