Aimee Semple McPherson (film)

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Aimee Semple McPherson
Directed by Richard Rossi
Produced by Frank Carvajal
Connie Fleishauer
Written by Richard Rossi
Starring Mimi Michaels
Rance Howard
Carl Ballantine
Teres Byrne
Music by Richard Rossi
Nita Sinaga
Edited by Adam Lightplay
Jaime Prater
Release date
  • January 2006 (2006-01) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Aimee Semple McPherson (2006) is a feature length dramatic biopic about evangelist "Sister" Aimee Semple McPherson.[1]

The cast includes Mimi Michaels, Rance Howard, and Kiera Chaplin. Richard Rossi wrote, directed and also acted in the film. Rossi shot the film with a $300 consumer camcorder. The movie has a jittery, sepia-toned 1920s motif, employing silent film cards and a period look with a contemporary documentary style. The film was made under a special agreement with the Screen Actor's Guild for experimental films with budgets under $75,000.

"Sister Aimee," the first feature dramatic film on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson, screens in Hollywood in April, 2008. Pictured are the period piece film's writer-director Richard Rossi, and his wife Sherrie in 1920's attire.

A group of Evangelicals offered to invest $2 million in the film, but with conditions that the movie did not depict McPherson's divorce or drug overdose and that the actor playing the lead be a Pentecostal Christian. Rossi turned them down. "By saying no to conditions that religious people put on me, I feel I'm actually of more service to God and people because I make an honest film," he said.[2]

Rossi admitted telling his own story allegorically through telling Sister Aimee's. In November, 2001, Rossi, a healing evangelist, received restoration treatment for depression and healing from childhood abuse at Healing for the Nations ministry in Atlanta, Georgia. "I was trying to help everybody else, but I was feeling empty inside," Rossi said. "It was like I was trying to fix the whole world, but I couldn't fix myself. It was a pretty lonely feeling."[3]

Critical response[edit]

According to Christianity Today, the film "goes much deeper" than previous portrayals of McPherson, including The Disappearance of Aimee, a 1970s television movie starring Faye Dunaway, and Rossi's own 37-minute 2001 documentary film Saving Sister Aimee.

Christianity Today praised the film, saying "Rossi gives insight into the emotional dysfunction arising from Pentecostalism's adulation of flawed and charismatic leaders...the film veers into psychohistory and reflects the psyche of the writer/director."[4] The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (the Pentecostal denomination Sister Aimee founded) released a press statement that they do not endorse the film because of Rossi's exploration of McPherson's personal struggles – that those were irrelevant to her as a person. VideoHound's Movie Retriever gave it two stars out of four.[5]

The film was released on DVD on April 22, 2008.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilbert, Ryan (November 5, 2012). "Hallelujah! How Faith Healer Aimee Semple McPherson Inspired the Rip-Roaring New Musical Scandalous". Broadway Buzz. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ Horwitch, Lauren (February 7, 2006). "Actor Chad Allen's lead role in a $30 million". Backstage. Backstage, LLC. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  3. ^ Griffiths, Lawn (August 27, 2005). "Finding Sister Aimee". East Valley Tribune. Archived from the original on March 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ Armstrong, Chris (January 1, 2005). "Aimee Semple McPherson". Christianity Today. 
  5. ^ "Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story". Movie Retriever. VideoHound. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ Zukowski, Kelsey (February 7, 2008). "Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story DVD Review". 

External links[edit]