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60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, Kumare follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life -- and wondering if and when to reveal his true self. Will his followers accept his final teaching? Can this illusion reveal a greater spiritual truth? Winner of South by Southwest's Audience Award, Kumare is an insightful look at faith and belief. (Kino Lorber) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 16, 2012
    80
    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
    80
    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: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 19, 2012
    60
    Predictably, the documentary got a rousing reception at hipster-laden SXSW; real people might find it a touch easy.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Holcomb
    Jun 19, 2012
    60
    Prepare to have your assumptions pitched out the window by this tense, surprisingly probing satirical documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jun 20, 2012
    58
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Sep 6, 2012
    25
    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.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. May 19, 2014
    10
    As a fairly new atheist (and therefore more snarky about religion than I have any right or reason to be) I thought I'd get a laugh a minute out of this whole thing. But it was really sad how easily a charismatic rascal in colorful garb can start a religion. The world is too full of hurting, broken people, and the human condition is just entirely too pathetic. I'm left with a question: Did he really feel any sorrow for his deceptions and any real affection for the people he tricked, or was that an act, too? Kumaré gets a 10 from me regardless of the primary actor's true character. It's thought provoking. And I'm glad I couldn't laugh at the people who were taken in by him. They're just good people who were looking for answers in the wrong place. And who hasn't done that at one time or another, one way or another? Expand
  2. Apr 4, 2013
    10
    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. Expand
  3. Jan 20, 2014
    9
    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! Expand
  4. Jul 11, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers. 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.
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  5. Jul 6, 2012
    1
    If I had been a victim caught up in the true crime recorded in this film, I would sue. After a screening in Boulder Colorado, the first thing the filmmaker told the audience was "I have many good lawyers". The dude is just plain scummy. The basis of the story is the filmmaker perpetuating a real-life fraud on a handful of nice, gullible people. He knew before he started there would be no movie unless he was able to make someone look stupid. Of course he succeeds, or there would be no movie to edit, publicize, and distribute. So we get to see him spiritually rape whoever is foolish enough to trust him and his sexy smiling henchmen. And every ticket sale makes him richer for having done so. When Sascha Baron Cohen did similar stunts (e.g., Borat) his targets were a variety of bigots, and the "humor" in those films was driven by bigots being shown to be bigots, and humiliated along the way. Cohen's movies are palatable in large part because the victims themselves are dangerous to begin with. None of the victims in Kumare are bigots--they are mostly ordinary simple souls who have an appetite for harmless New Age spirituality. That is not a good enough reason to mock them. It was disgusting to watch this man toy with people's hearts and minds just to get a few cheap laughs. Just watch the yoga instructor when she learns the truth about Kumare--she is definitely not laughing and why should she, when she allowed her studio and her students to become his victims. No doubt the counter argument is that this is a cautionary tale about trusting false gurus--ok, fine, but that does not justify creating a new set of victims. Expand
  6. Apr 22, 2013
    0
    This guy is a d*ck... i was there for one of the shoots--the one he did with atheists... we of course didn't buy his act and called him out on it, but of course he didn't put that into his documentary... Expand

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