Stuff – Gloriavale: Enlightening, heartrending doco lifts the veil on ‘NZ’s secret cult’
By James Croot – Stuff – 17/08/2022
Gloriavale (M, 89mins) ****
Lifting the veil on “New Zealand’s secret cult” and its apparent fall from utopian ideal to Animal Farm-esque nightmare, this enlightening, heartrending, rage-inducing documentary follows former members as they battle for justice – and reform – from the outside.
Siblings John Ready and Virginia Courage reveal what life was like inside the West Coast “Christian Community” and how their respective banishment and escape impacted on the family members they left behind, as they help compile a series of court actions against what they believe are its abuses of human rights and flouting of labour laws.
While their mother Sharon’s testimony is revelatory, it’s the archival footage and more recent secret audio recordings that really resonate – and shock.