Moon for the Manipulator, Worshiping His Charisma

New York Times/August 15, 2004
By Ada Calhoun

I am a giant among men!" L. Ron Hubbard proclaims shortly after arriving at the California mansion of his hopped-up crackpot friend Jack Parsons for an extended, Tartuffe-like stay.

Whenever he gets time to himself apart from Jack (Eric Altheide) and Jack's 16-year-old girlfriend (and sister-in-law), Betty (Abby Wathen), and the widely disliked financial adviser Billy (Andrew Shulman), Ron (Jonathan Cantor) whips a stack of index cards out of his pocket to practice his mantras: "You are courageous," he chants to himself. "You are charismatic." Soon enough in this snappy, quasihistorical living-room comedy, Ron has discarded the reminders and is working his manipulative magic on the Los Angeles-casual Satan-worshippers who - in between orgies - predict the dawning of a certain watery age.

Ultimately, "Moonchild," directed by Alex Lippard, is a smart (and, given the Scientologists' legal department, brave) farce betraying a real affection for shallow, power-hungry flakes up to no good.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.