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on April 1, 2002
If you yawned you missed this one when it first came out in the movies years ago. An "R" rated look at the Christian Rapture, it scared off Christians with its rating and heathens with its topic matter, so basically had no audience.
After watching it twice now, I still don't know what to make of it. The life of sexual hedonism and its emptiness is shown, but not to a degree that you really got the feeling she would be suicidal. Her Christian conversion and subsequent life changes were interesting, and true in many respects, but with the typical hollywood portrayal of all personal Christianity -- rather shallow. It had the feel that "7th Heaven" has as a TV show showing Christianity. The people trying to show what it's like are on the outside looking in, not those who trully experience it.
The main character's turning back away from God is equally as puzzling. Things don't happen the way she expects "We'll give God one more chance", then she chooses actions that she can't forgive God for. She's in the desert several weeks, then shoots her daughter the day before the Rapture comes. Oddly, she never seems to figure out that if she waited one more day everything would have been fine, and God didn't ask her to shoot her daughter.
The Rapture scenes are cursory and not filled out, which fits the movie. It's not deep theology and isn't meant to be. The film is much more about concepts than specifics. Some of the lines will make Christians cringe because they don't match Christian thought "God loves us because we love Him", but overall for a Hollywood movie they do a good job.
I recommend the film, but I'm not sure why. You'll either like it or you won't, but for a semi shallow undertaking if does create a depth of thinking.
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on July 15, 2001
I caught this movie on cable one night and was intrigued. I sat through the whole thing because it was just so different, there is no other contemporary movie like this. This is a movie that provokes several different emotions all in an hour and a half. It begins with a glimpse into "Sharon's" life (played by Mimi Rogers), a life of boredom and dissatisfaction. She has a job as a telephone operator, and at night she and her male friend cruise around looking for other couples to have sex with. And the sex scenes leave nothing to the imagination. She slips further and further into doom and almost commits suicide, when she picks up a Bible and after reading it decides to become a believer. She gets married and has a daughter. Her husband is tragically killed and this is where she goes off the deep end and turns into a religious fantatic, leaving her home and wandering in the desert with her daughter, because she believes God wants her to. She then shoots her own daughter, so that she can be with Jesus. I found that way more appalling than the sex scenes. She then goes off another deep end by turning her back on God, even coming to hate Him. The End of Time comes and everyone she loves ends up in Heaven...except her, because she can't forgive God, blaming Him for the crazy things she did! This is an unusual movie, the kind you only see once but can't forget...the kind you only want to see once.
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on August 24, 2002
When I first saw The Rapture (when it first came out), I was struck by how meticulous (and amusing) the (non-denominational) portrayals of the Born Agains (or, as I prefer to call this particular stripe of same, Apocalyptic Wowsers) were, from the faux Mormon missionaries to the painful earnestness of the young daughter asking to be with God and her daddy. This movie was saying everything I had wanted to say about religious Millenialism, and saying it (I thought) loud and clear.
Sharon, the character played by Mimi Rogers, was not living a life she was happy with, so, like so many others, instead of looking within herself to see what she could do to fix it, she (however unconsciously) sought without. Naturally there are always people willing to provide a sense of safety, surety, and surface happiness, or to show you how to achieve those things. All you have to do is give up what you are, and put all your faith in something that demands everything (and everything most certainly is demanded) of you, not only your life, but your soul.
Michael Tolkin is laughing at Born Again-ism, Millenialists, and fundies of the Christian persuasion in this movie. The Rapture is a primer on getting just what you pray for - here is what will happen if this is what you truly believe. Fortunately, he is also able to show us a woman who is strong enough to resist, at the end, although it means spending her eternity caught between Heaven and Hell.
When looking for meaning or layers, or subtext, or whatever, in a movie (or any other work of art, for that matter), it always helps to put the thing in context with other works by the same person. It may be well to remember that Michael Tolkin is also responsible for The Player and The New Age.
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on August 2, 2001
CAUTION...READ THE OTHER REVIEWS BELOW AT YOUR OWN RISK, because most contain spoilers that will ruin all the twists and turns this roller coaster has to offer.
I saw this on a local station last Sunday afternoon, so most of the "good" parts in the beginning were, thankfully, edited out. Being a bit of a prude, I probably would not have picked up the (deservably) R-rated film at Blockbusters. In fact, I thought that the movie's effort to convince us that the heroine, and her lover, really needed conversion was just a little too gratuitous for my taste, and cost it at least half a star in my rating.
But, being a closet X-Files, and Pretender, fan, I just had to see where their future stars were going to take this story.
And, as a Christian, I thought that the movie, despite some doctrinal problems, unneeded cultic mumbo-jumbo, and an obviously skimpy budget, had depicted as good a conversion and rapture scenario, at the personal level, as we are likely to see on film.
So, get up, and make pop-corn with the sound turned up during the nasty-bits, and then settle down to watch a film that you will not soon forget.
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on April 19, 2002
Although this movie does have some intriguing points and does a good job of bringing up age old scepticism,it inadequatly depicts Christianity by demonizing religon and lionizing the proud and rebelious.Mimi Rogers who plays Sharon does a few things that make me wonder why so many people would feel sorry for her.First of all(and I blame this largely on Hollywood)when Sharon decides to turn a new leaf and try to better herself AKA not sleeping around in promiscuous group sex,she instantly goes to a 180 extreme by rigid rules and preaching to others instead of knowing God,loving God,treating herself and others with reaspect and trying to lead a decent life.Hollywood always makes this statement that you're either extremely pious or you indulge in every kind of sin;no inbetween,how unoriginal and closeminded.
Secondly,she kills her daughter one day before the rapture not because God told her to,but because of her own lack of faith.All she had to do was wait ONE DAY!That in itself shows her selfishness and how shallow her soul is.
Lastly,near the end of the movie,when she is sooo angry with God(
why I don't know,God did not order her to kill her daughter)
she has the chance to be reunited with her daughter in Heaven if she would just accept God and His commandments.Naturally being the idiot that she is,she refuses.If any human is that proud and that self-absorbed then they don't deserve to be in Paradise.
I really like Mimi Rogers,but this script was so sterotypical and biased that it would turn away anyone who was considering a religous life.
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on July 26, 2001
THIS MOVIE I SAW WHEN I 1ST CAME TO CHRIST AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES THIS MOVIE SHOULD NOT EVEN BE LISTED AS A CHRISTIAN MOVIE! I SAW THIS MOVIE WHEN I WAS 25 YEARS OLD AND NOW THAT I'M THIRTY ONE I STILL DON'T LIKE IT. MAINKY FOR A PERSON TRYING TO PREPARE THERE SPIRITUAL LIVES. THIS MOVIE MAY MAKE A PERSON STAY IN THE WORLD. ONE THING YOU CAN LEARN FROM THE MOVIE IF YOU DON'T FALL FOR JESUS CHRIST YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING AND BE DECIEVED AND YOUR CHILDREN TOO! PLEASE FOR CHRIST SAKE SPEND YOUR MONEY ON AN UPLIFTING MOVIE ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD! AND I HOPE TO GOD THAT NO CHILDREN ARE OR WILL SEE THIS SICK AND TASTELESS MOVIE!----------LOVE YOUR SISTER IN CHRIST!
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on April 19, 2000
a very confusing, poorly acted movie. the character played by mimi rogers was so confusing--from being a sex-crazed nympho to a so called born agin she had the same pained look on her face. it was hard to feel anything for these characters---even when they turned to religion they were unlikeable. the desert scenes left a very bad taste in my mouth. I think it was an attempt to make you think more about religion, all it made me think about was that david duchovny must have been really hard up for cash to have been in such a lousy film.
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on November 27, 1999
I'm more curious how Fundamentalists will justify this film. David Duchovny character was ex-con, killed a man instead of delivering himself, turned to be a born-again; who had mark/tattoo of meeting with god -- Pearl -- later going on indelicacy; the pedocide was the key to meet the holy? Who believed god but didn't see the relatively in university were the most who suffered indeed.
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on June 25, 2001
Sharon suffers great confusion about her role and nature in her body/space/time matrix. After she immerses herself into body and sensate consciousness about as much as a human can, she finds despair. A message is creeping into her through dreams, and she attaches its meaning to the prophecies of a cult of sincere fundamentalists who are possessed by the idea of the Rapture. Passionate and obsessive about one thing or another as always, Sharon becomes as immersed in her interpretation of Revelation as she was about thrill-seeking. In her bottom-line desire to "lose herself" in one thing or another, she finds that she cannot lose her Self at all. At the end, she can neither accept the idea of a total, forgiving Authority any more than she can accept responsibility and forgiveness for her own misinterpretations of reality. She is left at the edge of the River Styx, unable to cross. She will not surrender her grievances, because they have become - and may have always been - the basis of her Self-Concept. She would rather cling to her judgments and grievances that be delivered.
Tolkin is an astonishing filmmaker, and THE RAPTURE has not lost any of its eerie power since I saw it in a Century City theater in 1991. What amazes me is some Christians' inability to grasp its depth or sincerity, but it is a theological rubix cube, and those who like Kirkengaard and more mystical investigations into Christianity will relish it, as it cautions against 'literalism' as much as it eviscerates 'pride'.
Is it outrageous that Mimi Rogers was not awarded some honor for her portrayal of the troubled "Can't find my limits" Sharon. Nevermind she has probably ruffled some Hollywood feathers with her personal life, but everytime I watch this film I am left speechless by her immersion into this tragic character, whose angst will move anyone that has searched the Long Night for under-standing.
Add to her bravura acting a well-cast David Duchovny, the wonderfully sybaritic Patric Buchau (spelling?), and a fine score by Thomas Newman, along with some great use of pop songs (Nico's "I'll Be Your Mirror" creeps through the wall like an Angel just as Sharon is about to kill herself in a dingy motel room!), and one has a knockout film.
Nevermind the special effects are on the low-end, what does that matter, really? This is a film about content, soul's content, so Tolkin can be forgiven his restrictions for bells and whistles. In fact, the FX are rather in keeping with Sharon's consciousness, anyway, and to have them blown up would have derailed the film's focus.
Also recommended: Tolkin's underrated comedy, "THE NEW AGE".
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on February 14, 2001
After reviewing others' opinions on this, one of my favorite movies, I decided to throw in my two cents. I find it a stroke of genius to create a film that can be taken on many different levels. Yes, one can watch this film and take it literally - the plights of a misguided hedonist who turns to Christianity and experiences "The Rapture" portended by her beliefs. But the interpretation that I come up with is a floundering woman's descent into insanity. All of her adult life, she is searching for an answer. She doesn't find it in casual sex. She doesn't find it in marriage and a "happy home life". She doesn't find it in the birth of her daughter. And she doesn't find it in Jesus. Ultimately (not to give away the plot), when a catastrophic life event happens, disrupting her seemingly normal life, she begins the slow descent into darkness.
No, I don't believe the ending of this movie actually occurs anyplace other than her mind. She is hopelessly lost and rejects any hope of salvation (mental or otherwise) whenever offered.
All in all, a thought provoking movie that some dismiss as fluff. This one will stay on my list of favorites....
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