‘Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru’ Trailer: The First Ever Self-Help Concert Film is Weirder Than You’d Think
Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
I saw director Joe Berlinger‘s Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru at SXSW earlier this year and had a very mixed reaction. While some found the film genuinely inspiring and others ruthlessly mocked it, I fell somewhere in the middle. It’s a fascinating movie and one worthy of being watched and picked apart, even if Berlinger’s portrait of the the famed motivational speaker is essentially a hagiography. In fact, it may be worth watching because it suggests Robbins can do no wrong and that viewpoint says a great deal about Robbins and those documenting him. Your personal mileage may drastically change how you watch this movie.
Anyway, Netflix scooped up the film and has released the first trailer, which offers a fairly accurate look at what you can expect.
Berlinger, who previously directed Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and the Paradise Lost trilogy, was granted access to Robbins’ “Date With Destiny” event, where a couple hundred people pay a couple thousand dollars to listen to Robbins speak for six twelve-hour days. Every so often, he pauses and focuses on a single person in the audience and tries to change their life through sheer force of will. There is a lot of screaming and a lot of crying and a lot of people seemingly having breakthrough moments. This is not a proper look at Robbins and his process, but a concert film where he is depicted with the bombast of a pop star. It is a truly odd film filled with some truly inexplicable moments. Some of those one-on-one interactions are truly jaw-dropping, and not always in a good way.
While I was never bored during Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru and found everything on screen to be consistently interesting (and often completely weird), there were aspects of it that feel…well, just plain uncomfortable. As I wrote back in March:
The result is a fascinating film, but also a flawed one. Berlinger is enamored with Robbins and his process, selling him as a great man and a healer who can do no wrong. But those who aren’t on board will watch with unnerved concern – Robbins looks an awful lot like an evangelical preacher, utilizing hypnotic techniques to transform his audience into putty in his hands. It’s disconcerting, fascinating footage that demands your attention…but the movie thinks the whole thing is uplifting and beautiful, refusing to even question Robbins’ methods or showcase one of his many critics. The movie is practically a must-see, just not necessarily for the reasons everyone involved thinks.
Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru drops on Netflix on July 15, 2016.
At Date With Destiny, Tony Robbins spends six days tearing down peoples’ walls in order to build them up again into their authentic selves. Witness the first-ever inside look at this monster event, the methodology behind the workshop, and the life changing, transformational experiences the attendees have under Tony’s guidance in Netflix’s I AM NOT YOUR GURU.