Reviews

“The Most Hated Family in America” (2007) IMDb

Creators

Louis Theroux (cast).

Extent

Seen in 2018.

Subject

The Mosaic fidelity and moral behaviour of Westboro Baptist Church.

Commentary

Old man Phelps, while clearly a hateful and horrible person, is surprisingly uncharismatic for a fringe cult leader. Aside from the family aspect it isn’t clear what keeps the church together, and as usual, that is not Theroux’s subject.

moving picture non-fiction

Sequel:

“America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis” (2011) IMDb

Creators

Louis Theroux (cast).

Extent

Seen in 2020.

Commentary

Here, Theroux’s interest shifts closer to the driving forces, but it’s still, as he says, on a human level.

moving picture non-fiction

Sequel:

“Surviving America’s Most Hated Family” (2019) IMDb

Creators

Louis Theroux (cast).

Extent

Seen in 2020.

Commentary

Louis’s interview with Shirley in her own, empty home is heartbreaking: Her father, who founded her cult, went senile, was perceived as demonic and was voted out. Almost all of her children have left, as Louis warned her. Her own power over the cult has waned and its new leaders deny that its message has changed. It’s too sad for her to talk about, and still she stays.

moving picture non-fiction