(Mia Donovan, Canada). 90 minutes. Rating: NNN Mia Donovan’s Deprogrammed looks at the cult hysteria of the 70s through the work of Ted Patrick, a flamboyant selfstyled deprogrammer hired by worried parents to rescue college-age kids who’d joined ashrams or communes – although, in present- day interviews, Patrick’s “cured” subjects all admit they eventually just told him what he wanted to hear so he’d let them go. One of them is Donovan’s stepbrother Matthew, whom Patrick attempted to free from supposed Satanic influences in 1988.
Patrick is a fascinating subject, and Donovan (Inside Lara Roxx) knows it, spending plenty of time letting him justify his methods – and subtly suggesting that his and his fellow deprogrammers’ self- righteous convictions were, and still are, just as cultish as those of the Moonies or the Hare Krishnas. But she’s so invested in him that she lets other aspects of Deprogrammed slide – especially Matthew’s story, which remains frustratingly undefined. NW Apr 26, 6:15 pm, TIFF 3; Apr 27, 1: 30 pm, Scotiabank 3; Apr 30, 9: 45 pm, TIFF 2