Written and directed by Michael Tolkin, THE RAPTURE is a thought-provoking examination of religious fanaticism. Mimi Rogers stars as Sharon, a cynical young Los Angeles woman who finds new direction in her life through fundamentalist belief.
Sharon is bored out of her mind working as a telephone service operator. So, to put a little excitement in her life, she and her boyfriend Vic (Patrick Bauchau) regularly indulge in group sex with strange couples. During one of these wild evenings, Sharon meets Randy (David Duchovny), whom she later goes out with. On their second date, Randy confesses he once killed a man for money. The following day, two Young Republican types come to Sharon's apartment, preaching the gospel. They warn her that she'd better get saved soon, as these are the "last days." Sharon dismisses them as over-zealous bible-wavers. But that night, while out with Vic on another sexual escapade, something odd happens. The woman from the other couple has a giant tattoo of a pearl on her back, which fascinates Sharon. She subsequently discusses the pearl with her co-workers, who interpret it as a message from God.
Sharon is now very confused. She gets in her car and starts driving with no specific destination in mind. She picks up a weird hitchhiker named Tommy (James LeGros) and they go to a hotel. Suddenly disgusted with herself, she kicks Tommy out, gets drunk and almost kills herself with his gun. After reading the hotel bible, she drifts off to sleep and dreams about the pearl. When she returns home, she announces to Vic that she's found God. At work, she starts asking callers if they, too, have found the Lord. When this gets her into trouble with her supervisor, it transpires that he, too, shares her belief. Sharon joins a fundamentalist church group and converts Randy to the cause, warning him that "the rapture"--the apocalyptic second coming of Christ--is coming soon.
Six years later, we find Sharon and Randy married, with a young daughter named Mary (Kimberly Cullum). In a tragic incident, Randy is shot and killed by an employee he recently fired. After Randy's death, Sharon has a vision, and believes she has been called to go to the desert and meet God. Sharon and Mary pick up and leave, but then sit around in the desert for days, waiting for a sign that never comes. Mary becomes increasingly impatient, asking why she can't rejoin her father in Heaven now, by simply dying. Sharon finally gives into her daughter's demands and shoots her dead; she then points the gun at her own head, but can't pull the trigger.
Hysterical over what she's done, the panic-stricken Sharon speeds away, to be pulled over by a local sheriff (Will Patton) whom she had met earlier in the desert. She lands up in jail in a cell next to the woman with the pearl tattoo, who is now acting just as Sharon had done when she first found God. Devastated that she has killed her own daughter in the name of religion, Sharon reverts to her former cynicism, asking "How can I love a God who let me kill my baby?"
The film's climactic scene sees the coming of the apocalypse, complete with four horsemen. The jail is destroyed by an earthquake and the sheriff takes Sharon back out to the desert. He, though formerly not a believer, is accepted into the kingdom of Heaven. Sharon, unable to reconcile herself with God, refuses to profess her love for Him and is shut out of Heaven, separated forever from Randy and Mary.
Tolkin does a good job of directing his own screenplay, which offers some interesting perspectives on religious fundamentalism. Mimi Rogers (SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, DESPERATE HOURS) gives an outstanding performance as a cynical woman who undergoes a born-again transformation. The supporting players deliver capable performances, and the production values are first-rate. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations, nudity.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Written and directed by Michael Tolkin, THE RAPTURE is a thought-provoking examination of religious fanaticism. Mimi Rogers stars as Sharon, a cynical young Los Angeles woman who finds new direction in her life through fundamentalist belief. Sharon is bor… (more)