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The Rapture (1991 film)

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The Rapture
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Tolkin
Written byMichael Tolkin
Produced byKaren Koch
Nancy Tenenbaum
Nick Wechsler
CinematographyBojan Bazelli
Edited bySuzanne Fenn
Music byThomas Newman
New Line Cinema
Electric Pictures
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release dates
  • September 6, 1991 (1991-09-06) (TIFF)
  • September 30, 1991 (1991-09-30) (NYFF)
  • October 4, 1991 (1991-10-04) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[2]
Box office$1.3 million[3]

The Rapture is a 1991 drama film written and directed by Michael Tolkin. It stars Mimi Rogers as a woman who converts from a swinger to a born-again Christian after learning that a true Rapture is upon the world.[4]

The low-budget film was a box office disappointment while critical reception was generally positive, with Rogers' performance praised as perhaps the best of her career.


Sharon, a young Los Angeles woman, engages in a swinging, libidinous lifestyle. She comes into contact with an unnamed Christian sect that advises her the Rapture is imminent based on their interpretations of strange dreams experienced by congregants.

In time, Sharon comes to accept this belief herself and becomes a born-again Christian. She then starts living a pious life, eventually marrying and having a daughter, Mary. When her husband Randy is killed in a senseless murder, however, she begins to question the benevolence of God. She believes God has called her to go to the desert to wait for the Rapture, and instead of leaving her daughter safely with friends, she decides Mary must come with her. Foster, a police officer, is concerned for their well-being after they are reduced to stealing food while they wait, but Sharon is insistent that the end is near.

Sharon begins to despair after a period of time, and at her daughter's urging, decides to hasten their ascendance to Heaven. She kills Mary with a gunshot but is unable to take her own life afterwards, afraid she will be condemned as having killed herself. She confesses to Foster what she had done and is jailed.

After an apparition of Mary (accompanied by two angels) appears in the night, the Rapture occurs. While Sharon sits in her cell early the next morning, a loud trumpet blast is heard all over the world, signaling the start of the Rapture. Later on, Sharon and Foster, after driving out into the desert, are both raptured to a Purgatory-like landscape. Foster, who had been an atheist his whole life, accepts God and is allowed entrance to Heaven, but Sharon blames God for Mary's death, and she cannot renounce her anger at God's perceived cruelty. Mary pleads with her to accept God back into her heart so she can join her and Randy in Heaven, but Sharon refuses, choosing to remain alone in the purgatory-like landscape for eternity.



The film was shot in Los Angeles over six weeks.[2]


Prior to Rogers's involvement, Sissy Spacek, Meg Ryan, and Rachel Ward passed on taking the role of Sharon.[5] Tolkin noted that Rogers's Scientology beliefs played no bearing on her casting: "Mimi's background in Scientology played no role in my casting her, nor did I see it as a problem—we never even discussed it." Rogers added that "my own religious views didn't affect my approach to the picture at all."[6] In another interview, though, she noted that the role was easier thanks to her view of Jesus:

I don't, for example, have a Jesus Christ definition of God... and I have no views on heaven or hell. To me they're alien concepts. If I were a practicing Christian or a Jew, with all the hang-ups of those religions, I don't think I could have done Sharon justice.[7]

Rogers and Duchovny would later appear together in The X-Files.


The Rapture grossed $1.3 million at the North American box office[3] against a production budget of $3 million.[2]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 65% based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10.[8]

Rogers especially won praise for her performance, with the Los Angeles Times calling it an "astonishingly stunning performance."[9] Entertainment Weekly noted that Rogers "delivers a subtle and complex performance."[5] Critic Robin Wood declared Rogers "gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the Hollywood cinema."[10]

Roger Ebert gave The Rapture 4/4 stars and praised Tolkin for avoiding the "pious banalities" of most religious movies, instead "examining the logic of the final judgment as radically and uncompromisingly as he can."[11]

A mixed review came from Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who said Tolkin "earns points simply for trying" to make a serious religious film in the 1990s Hollywood film industry, yet by the final scenes The Rapture drifts into "loopy melodrama and blunts what had been the keen edge of Rogers's performance."[12] John Simon of the National Review described The Rapture as "a piece of apocalyptic trash megalomaniacal to the point of imbecility".[13]


  1. ^ "THE RAPTURE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 1992-04-15. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991
  3. ^ a b "The Rapture (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  4. ^ Uhlich, Keith (9 November 2004). "Review: The Rapture". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2004.
  5. ^ a b "Mimi Rogers in "The Rapture"". Entertainment Weekly. 29 November 1991. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  6. ^ Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991. p/2
  7. ^ Masullo, Robert A. (1991-12-22). "Mimi Rogers Finds Strength in "Rapture's" Heavy Role". Sacramento Bee. p. EN14.
  8. ^ "The Rapture (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  9. ^ Turan, Kenneth (28 May 1995). "The Rapture". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  10. ^ Wood, Robin (2003). "Prologue". Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and Beyond (Expanded & revised ed.). New York City: Columbia University Press. p. xxxvii. ISBN 978-0-23112-966-4.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (27 October 1991). "The Rapture". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  12. ^ Travers, Peter (04 October 1991)The Rapture, Rolling Stone
  13. ^ Simon, John (2005). John Simon on Film: Criticism 1982-2001. Applause Books. p. 322.

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