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Reviews & Ratings for
The Workshop More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

An innocent form of emotional exploration and experimentation

7/10
Author: Gustavo Arias from United Kingdom
10 April 2009

Hippy nudist alien guru camp documentary. Very interesting and entertaining. Especially the basic theme of common emotions of guilt and jealousy everyone struggles with. Far from being cult like as one would expect, it's seems more like a innocent exercise of emotional exploration and experimentation. The music and editing work is also surprisingly good.

I ran into this documentary intrigued by its synopsis and not knowing what to expect which is how i think the people in the workshop approached the experience. Would have liked to hear more on the alien theme though.

Enlightenment guaranteed, clothing optional.

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17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Let's get naked and then act all peaceful n' stuff!

6/10
Author: ElijahCSkuggs from Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane
29 May 2010

The Workshop is a glimpse into the nudity laden 10 day sex and zen workshop that will help you find your way in life. Well, that's the idea anyways.

The flick is a total mixed bag of thought. One second, I was digging what was going on, as I think the aspect of nudity can definitely work...but only for so long. Hell, I think I would enjoy going to this workshop, getting naked, sleeping in a tent, having sex and orgies, talking about aliens...but at the same time I've seen the people, and the characters, and I don't think I'd be able to deal with it.

At first I saw vulnerability, and an innocent openness....and then, I saw a facade. You're there for 10 days, and of course you're trying to be as positive and open as you can...but the way a lot of these people talk, and embrace this philosophy so whole-heartedly is beyond melodramatic and rather fake. One of the people there (who I identified with most) tried asking another member a question, if she had sex with so-and-so, but was met with something like this, 'I will answer your question when space allows it.' That is not the exact sentence, but it's very similar, and all I need to make my point.

The camp is without a doubt a hell of a unique experience. But it also appears to be hit or miss and untrustworthy with it's success rate. Out of half dozen or so main people on display here, I'm still uncertain if any of them truly got something out of it. Just because you act and look like some spiritual/new-wave thinker...it doesn't make you one. But they wouldn't know that.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

It'll take a lot of "Work" to get through this "Shop."

2/10
Author: thesar-2 from United States
26 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One nice thing I can say about The Workshop, was the nudity was from real people, and from real people not hung up on being naked in front of the camera. SEE: the woman's shower.

Unfortunately, I can find very little more in the positive category for this movie. For the most part, it was boring. Barely a time before this did I check the time on when it was going to end so frequently. And it's only 93 minutes! What you'll get in the documentary about anti-God hippies is a bunch of people who agreed to venture from around the world to just outside San Francisco, CA USA, be filmed and spend ten days practically naked the whole time. Led by head-hippie Paul Lowe who asks them to live in the now, remove all their thoughts on God, their worries and clothes, of course. After ten days, you're supposed to be cleansed emotionally and spirally.

What I saw, or more accurately heard, were words from these people during or after that they changed. I appreciate a documentary that actually shows the transformation. (Not the best documentary, but Super Size Me is a great example.) All we hear is how better everyone is, and maybe they were, but we'll just have to take their word for it.

Good for them, if they changed. It just wouldn't be my cup of tea.

It was told a few times that "you had to be there" to understand, feel, change, etc. And Paul's asking his minions to disavow some teachings (I.E. God's) for his own. Heck, even AA leaves it up to the group to decide their own "Higher Power." Back to the boredom. I'm assuming the entire idea of filming this came from one man, an Alice Cooper/Keith Richards-lookalike who's as dull as pocket lint all the while whining about his ex. Unfortunately, you see and hear from him the most. The other "supporting cast" members are as equally boring and whine as much. You're supposed to be learning that sex is as natural as shaking hands and just the same, you can do it to just about anyone. These guys/gals are supposed to be "learning" but they spend the movie saying they're anti-monogamous, as Paul would want the world to be, while complaining when the object of their desire sleeps around or fearing they're "cheating" on their partners at home.

Also, maybe it was off camera, but I am shocked these people were not high, smoking weed, or whatever. They're facial expressions are as zoned as someone who believes they're flying in the clouds. Maybe that's where some of them are seeing the aliens they're convinced are among us. We're told some of them may very well be aliens! Though I don't give into the alien conspiracy, that part, I would find hard not to believe.

As for the nudity, none of its really graphic. And as previously mentioned, if you must have a documentary on nude camps, it was refreshing no one was a model. So, if you're watching this for the full-frontal nudity and green-lit orgy scene and wanted porn actors, look elsewhere. The orgy was not really one, in fact. It was just a bunch of people lying on top of or next to one another. Other than that, the only other "risqué" scene involved one woman that was "stretching" her mate (of the moment) because, I guess either A: She thinks size does matter or B: She gets very little contact with the member and is exploring it like a child for the first time.

I won't say this movie's anti-gay, and I certainly don't like to go on a rampage against movies that are – everyone's entitled their opinion/views, but I'm guessing they're saying either homosexuality's a choice or that everyone should be heterosexual. In the film, there is one openly gay male (I'm guessing on one or two more, but never revealed) who "cleanses" himself by fooling around with the opposite sex. No other time do you see a straight male "exiting his normal life" and sexually bonding with another male. You will see a couple of women doing that (reason I don't completely believe the statement was homophobic) but again, that's usually what straight guys want – woman-on-woman action. (Before you get too excited, remember the quality of people I spoke about – they're not models.) I would only recommend this movie with caution. If you're into the free-style/hippie movement of decades past and want to reminisce on past orgies/be-free-be-nude days, then this might be for you. Or if you've heard of and believe in gurus like Paul Lowe, then you could check out. But, for the skeptics out there (uh, me included) or for people liking their documentaries to show more than tell more, you should stay away.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Half a Brain Required

Author: garibagio from United States
7 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Interesting concept. I think the filmmaker himself was the most interesting part of the movie. He seems very confused, but interesting and genuine. That being said, this is a movie for people with half a brain. The idea the "guru" espouses is that, chiefly, it is the repression of our sexuality that causes all of our problems. He says were "hard wired" by society for monogamy, jealousy, shame, etc but we were "created" for free love, free sex, etc. In other words, he claims an "aught to be" and espouses it as the way it should be. He does this right after he makes some nasty statement about god, religious people and the "god myth". I couldn't help but think (and apparently all of the conference attendees are too busy with orgies to stop and think about it themselves) why is the self proclaimed Guru's "aught" right? Why should we tell the truth? Why should be "respect each other's energy" or any of the hippie commune ideas taught at the workshop. It would be no less morally different, i.e., no less wrong, to have a workshop across the street that claimed society is to blame for the reason we are all "so nice and polite" and that artificial laws inhibit us from our created animal kingdom instincts to rape, murder, steal, defecate anytime, anywhere the urge strikes, etc. That we would be much happier shrugging off law and "fake morality" and living like beasts. Ohhh wait, did I mention the sex part…yeah all of the participants seemed like deceived children who after the ten days are going to go back to their actual lives and wonder what in the heck they were thinking. I remember putting on a costume and believing I was a superhero, when I was ten, but this is fleeting and reality beckons you back. The reality emerges in the film about half way through were just about every participant (unless they appeared stoned) was either in tears or emotionally distraught because they cannot reconcile with the false concepts and deception being pushed sold to them by a pervert.

Unfortunately what emerges is a superficial and emotionally scaring event for all the participants. The participants all seemed to nervously laugh and giggle, experience shock, falsely embrace the concepts, ignore everything they truly felt and believed embrace the workshop teaching and orgies, then regret, emotional torment and the realization that close, exclusive, interpersonal relationships are core to which we are. This reminds me to much of Aldus Huxley's novel "Brave New World". But some point in our lives the truth will demand an accounting and the a moral law emerges as (even if you reject god) the way you want to live and be treated (some shade of right and wrong, truth, virtue, etc) will prevail.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Nothing but a sales pitch.

Author: tildybeth from United States
27 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would have been more convinced of the "Spiritual Enlightenment" of the teachers of the workshop had they not shown the same nubile 20-something female the ENTIRE MOVIE. You want to convince me that you've reached full enlightenment? Show me the ENTIRETY of the workshop attendees, not just a handful of the most commercially viable "students." Show me a scene in which the "Chakra Opening Massage" is administered to the 50-something large woman with cottage-cheese arms rather than the young British lass. Bottom line, just a bunch of dirty old (and obviously still immature and emotionally stunted) men looking for a new angle to land some young, fresh tail.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Guys, this is unrealistic

4/10
Author: Sam-953-169285 from United States
3 May 2015

Guys, you must understand that it is unlikely the women will be as eager and open about sex as is shown in this movie. This movie is intended to promote a an openness and acceptance of sex that is less realistic in real life.

The leader insists that we must not allow others to control us and his instance is an attempt to control us. He is promoting promiscuity, which I am not criticizing but the philosophy really dwells on things like that. The thing that is unrealistic about this movie is that in real life there would be a huge imbalance of much more men interested in this type of thing.

There are people of all ages in this workshop and for the show they showed the young people nearly exclusively.

There is a little sex. A woman massages a man's penis for at least half a minute and it is very graphic.

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