The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

Poster for The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

HBO docuseries from Emmy-winning director Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) depicting Christian weight-loss guru Gwen Shamblin Lara's rise to attain cult-like power over her followers. More

After rising to fame with her Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian-based diet program that preached slenderness as next to godliness, Gwen Shamblin Lara founded the Tennessee-based church. Despite a carefully curated image, Lara and the church soon fielded accusations of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, and exploitation for their alleged cult-like practices. Encompassing years of investigation and extensive interviews with former members and others personally impacted, The Way Down explores the legacy of Remnant’s infamous leader–whose life came to a shocking end after a plane crash in May 2021.

Less
2021Rating: 16USAHBO
Documentary

Episodes

EPISODE 1.1

The Kingdom

A deadly plane crash draws public attention to the Remnant... More Fellowship, a Christian-diet-program-turned-church, and its infamous leader, Gwen Shamblin Lara.

EPISODE 1.2

A Family Affair

Gwen’s divorce and prompt remarriage to struggling actor/musician Joe Lara... More raise questions about the odd couple’s checkered past – and the church’s finances.

EPISODE 1.3

Seen But Not Heard

When two Remnant members are charged with murder, Gwen rallies... More her congregation to defend against claims of abuse. As former church members recount their chilling experiences, another tragedy threatens to upend the future of the church.

EPISODE 1.4

Revelations

After a mysterious accident claims the lives of Gwen, Joe,... More and some of their inner circle, former Remnant members grapple with the leader’s complicated legacy, and new voices come forward for the first time.

EPISODE 1.5

The Way Forward

As the Remnant Fellowship fights to control the narrative, footage... More of a never-aired reality series pilot surfaces, casting new light on the ways Gwen shaped her image and the lives of those who followed her.

The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin | Reviews

80%10 reviews

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

All reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Zenovich structures her three-part documentary... like Dante's visit to the circles of hell; the deeper we wade in, the more grotesque the cruelties.

Full review
Decider

Decider

The Way Down is one part fascinating study of the human condition to one part guilty pleasure.

Full review
A.V. Club

A.V. Club

An undoubtedly upsetting tale, but it's almost undermined by the insistence on frequent breaks to dial up the tension.

Full review

The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin | Release Details

The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin is available to stream in New Zealand now on Neon.