The Rapture (film)

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The Rapture
theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Tolkin
Produced by Karen Koch
Nancy Tenenbaum
Nick Wechsler
Written by Michael Tolkin
Starring Mimi Rogers
David Duchovny
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Edited by Suzanne Fenn
New Line Cinema
Electric Pictures
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates
  • September 6, 1991 (1991-09-06) (Toronto)
  • September 30, 1991 (1991-09-30) (NYC)
  • October 4, 1991 (1991-10-04) (US)
Running time
100 minutes [1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,000,000[2]
Box office $1,277,404[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.


Sharon, a young Los Angeles woman, engages in a swinging, libidinous lifestyle. She comes into contact with a sect that advises her that the Rapture is imminent.

In time, she comes to accept this belief herself and becomes a born-again Christian. She begins a new, pious lifestyle, 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 decides Mary must come with her. A police officer named Foster 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.

After a period of time Sharon begins to despair 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'll be condemned as a suicide. She confesses to what she had done to Foster and is arrested and placed in the local jail.

After an apparition of Mary (accompanied by two angels) 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, even though God didn't tell her to bring Mary with her to the desert, and she cannot renounce her anger at what she sees as His 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 made on a $3 million budget and shot in Los Angeles over six weeks.[2]


Prior to Rogers' involvement, Sissy Spacek, Meg Ryan, and Rachel Ward passed on taking the role of Sharon.[4] Tolkin noted that Rogers' 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."[5] Although in another interview, she noted that the role was easier by way of not having a traditional 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."[6]


The film received mixed reviews from critics, currently holding a 64% "fresh" rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[7] Rogers especially won praise for her performance, with the Los Angeles Times calling it an "astonishingly stunning performance."[8] Entertainment Weekly noted that Rogers "delivers a subtle and complex performance."[4] Roger Ebert gave The Rapture 4 stars out of a possible four, praising Tolkin for avoiding the "pious banalities" of most religious movies and instead "examining the logic of the final judgment as radically and uncompromisingly as he can."[9]



Further reading

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