Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 16, 2012
    As Kumaré plays out, both Gandhi and the film become something else, something much more thoughtful and moving. It is, as he puts it, the biggest lie he has ever told and the greatest truth he has ever known.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 25, 2012
    When Vikram Gandhi set out to become a guru, he didn't expect to really become a guru. But that's what happens in his slippery, ambiguous, tense and finally moving Kumaré, which is officially termed a documentary but could also be considered as the video corollary to a thorny work of performance art.
  3. 75
    In a sense, the deception he practices on his followers is contemptible, but in another sense, they're all in it together. The film's implication seems to be: It doesn't matter if a religion's teachings are true. What matters is if you think they are.
  4. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Jun 22, 2012
    Gandhi is talented enough, and compassionate enough, that his tour of the human need to believe in something becomes not just mocking, but touching.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jun 19, 2012
    A goal of this practical program of discipline and reflection is to cultivate an inner guru so that you don't need someone like Kumaré.
  6. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jun 18, 2012
    Kumaré has a premise that could've been the launching point for one of Sascha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles's satirical outrages.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Holcomb
    Jun 19, 2012
    Prepare to have your assumptions pitched out the window by this tense, surprisingly probing satirical documentary.
  8. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 19, 2012
    Predictably, the documentary got a rousing reception at hipster-laden SXSW; real people might find it a touch easy.
  9. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jun 20, 2012
    Even at a slim 84 minutes, that arc is padded out with side explorations of acoustic therapy and alien-abduction communes that dilute the film's focus and only make it seem like the filmmaker's aware there just isn't much there there.
  10. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Sep 6, 2012
    If they handed out a best actor Oscar for documentaries this year, the striking Vikram Gandhi of Kumare would be a shoo-in. His performance of a guru is so spot-on that it fools every one of his new followers into believing he's the real deal, not someone out to prove that their faith in him is nothing more than a sham.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jun 21, 2012
    Gandhi tries to dodge criticism of his mocking scam by rationalizing that even a phony wise man can offer real solace.
  12. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Sep 6, 2012
    What is offensive is how the masquerade punks these other people - and to no seeming purpose, other than to provide Gandhi with footage for this documentary.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Jul 11, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The ideas behind the film are fascinating but the struggle here is with the film maker/guru. It offers up a biased perspective on the whole situation and his whole premise for the film seems to compromise it in the end for me. I'm still divided on what was genuine in this film if anything at all.

    It generates some very interesting discussion but I I would love to see a doco filmed by a uninvolved third party on multiple perspectives, including those burned.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 20, 2014
    I am not a big fan of documentaries & would not have watched this on my own (I saw it in a group i was in) but was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. From the very beginning to the ending credits I was glued to my seat! It was very smart, funny, sad & bluntly honest! I recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys controversy & who questions religion! Full Review »
  3. Apr 4, 2013
    One of the finest movies I have ever seen. Incredibly moving and a must for anyone who is the least bit interested in religion and spirituality. A fascinating realization of a deeply fundamental and universal truth. Full Review »