Will Smith’s New Movie Smells Like Scientology

Is Will Smith’s new movie, After Earth Scientology propaganda? Several film critics have pointed to similarities between the Smith family flick—which brought in a dismal $1 million on opening night—and the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that suggest it might be. The similarities range from the literal—the final shot of the movie, an erupting volcano, recalls the image on the cover of Dianetics, Scientology’s main religious text—to the thematic: Smith’s character is able to swallow his emotions in order to overcome obstacles, an ability that Hubbard encouraged of his followers. Smith’s character even “audits” his son Jaden’s character in the movie—explicitly referring to the Scientology method of acknowledging and then ridding oneself of painful memories. However, despite these and other connections and the fact that Smith has been known to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the controversial church, he has publicly denied being a practicing member.