Tony Robbins wants to help you. He also wants to break you down, emotionally, in front of hundreds of equally wounded individuals. But ultimately, the self-help specialist and best-selling author's method is supposed to be for the good. And you will get to learn a lot about the man, and his unorthodox practices, in the riveting Netflix documentary Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, which just dropped its first trailer.
I knew next to nothing about Tony Robbins prior to seeing this documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina. I went to the doc because it's the latest from Joe Berlinger, a probing and insightful documentary filmmaker responsible for the Paradise Lost trilogy of films, and the incredible Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. That latter film showed how interested Berlinger is (or can be) in tearing away the façade of celebrity and getting to the core of people who put themselves on a stage for the purpose of entertaining, and even helping, strangers.
Tony Robbins does this. And for I Am Not Your Guru, Robbins allowed Joe Berlinegr unprecedented access to his annual Date With Destiny, a week-long gathering of people who follow Robbins, who believe in his self-help methods, and who'd like his help in achieving a breakthrough. It doesn't always work. Some people don't get individual time with the master himself. But the man tries. Oh Lord, does he ever try to make a connection with every single person in that room... as you can see by the trailer above.
Here's the official plot synopsis for Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru:
Each year, over 2,500 people converge on Boca Raton, Florida, to spend six days with the life and business strategist Tony Robbins for his mammoth seminar Date with Destiny. For Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, Robbins opened his doors to esteemed documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger for his twelfth feature documentary. Granted unprecedented access (Robbins has never previously admitted a camera crew to the seminar), Berlinger treats audience to the actual, visceral experience of joining the ecstatic temporary community for six life-changing days in the company of the larger-than-life Robbins, filled with theatrics, blaring dance and rock music, meditation, tears, heartbreaking public confessions and laughter.
The film will launch globally on Netflix on July 15. Seeing as how it was permitted by Tony Robbins, you might be able to make the argument that it's relatively one-sided, and in the man's "camp." Possibly. Berlinger finds mostly people who subscribe to Robbins' methods. At Full Frame, I asked Berlinger if he found anyone who disagreed with Robbins, and he said that he did, but that he didn't put them in the film. I still wonder why. But I Am Not Your Guru remains worth your watch, and the trailer sells it beautifully.