The Rapture

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Total Count: 29


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An audacious film about faith, The Rapture is a contemporary fantasy that keeps its feet unnervingly planted in reality even as reality starts to collapse. Mimi Rogers, in a strikingly accomplished performance, stars as Sharon, a telephone operator who spends her off-hours engaging in casual group sex to blot out her boredom. By chance, she becomes aware of a small Christian sect whose members believe that they have found a child with the gift of prophecy who has seen the upcoming end times. Slowly but steadily, Sharon finds herself drawn to this group, and one night she abruptly turns a corner, renounces her old life, and embraces fundamentalism with passion. She marries one of her former lovers, Randy (David Duchovny), who takes up Sharon's evangelical fervor to atone for his past as a hired killer, and they have a daughter. All seems peaceful until Randy is unexpectedly murdered, and Sharon takes her child to the desert to await the rapture that will bring the chosen to heaven. The film neither supports nor scoffs at Sharon's views, and the superb performances add immeasurably to a film that presents the unbelievable (and unthinkable) at face value, making it seem oddly plausible in the process. Michael Tolkin has also written and/or directed such films as The Player (1992), directed by Robert Altman, and The New Age (1994), both of which also skewer contemporary American society as shallow, materialistic, and desperate for something authentic to believe in.

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Critic Reviews for The Rapture

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for The Rapture

  • Jul 18, 2013
    The following review will divided into two parts: a brief comment about the film <i>as a film</i>, and a necessary clarification of the religious themes handled in the film with proper citations of the Bible, God's Word, in order to answer some of the possible questions people may have towards the ideas of the film and why the religion portrayed here is incorrect and condemned by God. In that way, you can choose what part to read. The second part will be a debate. I am a Christian and therefore this film invited me to take a side. <b>FILM'S BRIEF REVIEW</b> Michael Tolkin made a supernatural thriller named <i>The Rapture</i>, a very underrated and obscure feature film with a good arsenal of interesting ideas to offer to all audiences regardless of their beliefs for the purpose of personal reflection. The film's weight is carried solidly by Mimi Rogers' multi-faceted performance, suffering personality transformations throughout the film, from a road of lust and emotional perdition to a path of spiritual redemption, as she tries to gain her own Salvation and waiting desperately for God's arrival on Earth. The film's most admirable aspect is its versatility. Just like Rogers' performance had facets, the film also changes tones, from a Lynchian dark atmosphere with bizarre characters and mysterious symbols, to a light drama featuring a woman trying to come to terms with herself and meeting God gradually, to a movie about solitude in the desert with interesting visuals and an aura that shockingly reminded me of Raoul Ruiz's <a href = "">La Ville des Pirates (1983)</a>, to finally a Lynchian perspective on the metaphysical like the one by the end of <i>Wild at Heart</i> (1990). I wish that every single segment I listed in the paragraph above had been explored with more depth. The film had enough material to be an entrancing journey of 135-140 minutes and with a power enough to leave audiences baffled. Now that I think about it, what would have happened if Lynch or even the grand Ruiz had taken the project in their own hands?? Maybe <i>La Ville des Pirates</i> (1983) is already an answer, but what about Lynch? 72/100 <b>A SPOILER INFESTED ANALYSIS ON THE INCORRECT ASPECTS OF THE RELIGION HANDLED AND ITS IMPLICATIONS, with Bible citations</b> Sharon Rogers = S Preachers = P Randy = R Sharon's Boss = B Sharon's Friend = F Mary, Sharon's daughter = M Sheriff = Sh -P: You understand that these are the last days. Nobody knows the time. <i>"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."</i> Matthew 24:36 -P: You have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. -S: Otherwise? -P: You won't be saved. That is true, but that is no way to preach the Word. You must be considerate to the human condition and, taking care of the person's emotions, you have to explain why. -P: It's only by the grace of God you'll be saved. True. -S: Well, what if I lead a good life? Does it still matter if I don't believe? Yes, it does. The human definitions of good and evil do not coincide with the thoughts of God. <i>" Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"</i> Isaiah 5:20. Moreover, <i>" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."</i> Ephesians 2: 8-9. Actions do not save you, but faith. -P: You have to believe. If you don't, you go to hell. -S: Well, that doesn't seem fair. How could a person think that he/she can judge what is fair or not fair in God? In a way, she is right. It is not fair. We do deserve hell, but it was God's mercy that saved those who want to be saved. It's a matter of decision, not faith! Wow! And you thought it was more complicated :). -P: "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in His name, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) That is the heart of the Bible's message. It's a call for everybody, including me and you :). -P: You can have what we have. A personal relationship with the Son of God. It's hard to believe, unless you believe, but when you believe it, then it's easy. You just know. 100% true. It is something that can be experienced after you have taken the decision. It cannot be explained. -S: Right. And I'm supposed to buy this? -P: No. It's a gift. Excellent answer. It is indeed a gift, because it is a decision. Nobody is "supposed" to believe anything. __________________________________________________________ -S: There are five billion people on the planet. There's I don't know how many religions. Why does the God of some little country on the Mediterranean have to be the God for everyone? Isn't that a little arrogant? Arrogant who? God? Or the idea itself? It was men that created so many false religions even though our ancestors lived with God every day of their lives and saw His miracles. People decided to step away and create all sorts of false idols and idolatry. Why blame God for all the false religions that man made? One of God's biggest manifestations of His love towards humanity is the ability He gave to man to have free will. Otherwise, we would not have any freedom to take any kind of decision. This is an argument I will use throughout the film when the argument applies to the situation properly. -S: The Buddhists get along OK without Jesus Christ. The Hindus get along OK without Jesus Christ. The Muslims seem to be getting along OK without Jesus Christ. But none of them are saved. I wouldn't be so sure that they all "get along". That's a very broad and bold generalization. People have voids in their lives, people do things that destroy them without realizing it (like lust, or drinking, until they are consumed by alcoholism or run against a tree in a highway). And even so, that is far from the point. Most of those religions promote hatred and wars, including those against other religious groups, punishments of the flesh, sacrifices... things that God never demanded. The Bible doesn't. __________________________________________________________ -S: I am trying, Randy. I want my salvation. -R: Sharon, you're fine the way you are. <i>"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."</i> Isaiah 55:8-9 -S: You just want to live in sin, don't you? -R: Yeah, that's right. I just want to live in sin. Precisely... -S: Fine. Be a slave to the devil. That is no proper way to answer to a nonbeliever. (Randy touches the water in Sharon's shower) -R: Ow. Jesus Christ, that's hot. -S: Don't take the Lord's name in vain, Randy. That does not mean to take His name in vain. It means making promises and swearing to God you will make it, and you do not end up making it. It also refers to putting words in God's mouth: saying something He never did. -S: That's one of the commandments and it comes before theft and adultery. It even comes before murder. Sharon engages in theft and murder later on, as you know. This will be discussed later. -R: But what does a shower at 3:00 in the morning have to do with eternal salvation? Nothing. -S: I want to be clean. 1) You do not need to be clean for achieving salvation. 2) That does not mean to be "clean" anyway. -S: When we do something wrong, we feel bad and that's because there's a little bit of God inside of all of us telling it's time to change our ways before it's too late. Isn't that right? -R: No, that's not right. Not quite. People who are already converted to Christ will experience that because Christ is in their hearts now, living a new life, and the Holy Spirit is that thing which we call "conscience". -R: It's just conditioned by society. In the case of nonbelievers, that's true. What they feel, unlike converted people, is not the Holy Spirit, but society's conditioning. -R: All we are is animals whose brains have become too big and too complicated for the purposes of satisfying our animal needs which are food and sex. What a shallow interpretation of human life. -R: Sharon, don't you understand what's going on? The world's a disaster. We have no power to make it better. That lack of hope is the one that enforces the present state of things. We can make it better. His problem is that he is thinking in absolute terms, like if only one action or one person could transform the world. However, it is a process. The purpose of life is to spread God's Word so that those who believe and decide to live a better life have an eternal life with God in Heaven. People converted indeed improve their lives in an unprecedented way and there are millions of truthful testimonies. Not only they are the ones to be benefited from a better life, but the people and family surrounding them as well. That is the way to change the world: with little steps and without being unrealistic. The earthly way to make of the world a better place to live is to be a good husband, a good wife, a good father and mother, a good son, a responsible brother, a responsible car driver, a responsible businessman who pays taxes... In that way, you are improving the world in ways you do not have immediate contact with, but they do have positive effects that may even probably unleash a good chain reaction. -S: Why can't we let God help both of us? -R: Because there is no God. Prove it. While you're at it, also explain how people have changed their lives miraculously, from the people on the border of suicide to assassins, rapists, pedophiles and any other atrocity maker that your modernized mentality may allow you to think of. They didn't do that for themselves; you can be extremely sure of that. __________________________________________________________ -S: You can't understand, but l--I know what that's like. Until it happens to you and until you accept God into your heart, it's like a fairy tale. It's like some joke that you just don't get. I concur. Something supernatural happens, "supernatural" meaning beyond the natural or immediately tangible. -Sharon's acquaintance: I think you need to be deprogrammed. Who gives him the right to make a statement like that? It is not a programming, anyway. It's a decision. How can a personal decision be programming? Brainwashing, you say? People are much more intelligent than that. We have the capacity of rational thought. __________________________________________________________ -B: You were clocked on one call at seven minutes fifteen. -S: I am just trying to do my job. -B: It seems like you're trying to do two jobs out there. Here, the boss is right. You cannot do two jobs simultaneously. Besides, the circumstances in which Sharon was trying to make people meet God was very imprudent. People making calls are usually in a hurry. -S: We only have one job. One job commanded by God: to spread His Word. But we, as grateful souls, should also be responsible towards the job that God has blessed us with. She was not being responsible to her job. <i>"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."</i> Ecclesiastes 3:1 -B: That's right, and you're not doing the one that you're being paid for. Yup. -S: I know you can't believe this, but God is coming back to judge the world, and it's important. I have to tell people. We have to prepare for His return. Again. <i>"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."</i> Matthew 24:36 -B: The unbelievers try to make it seem Iike there's something wrong with us, that we're stupid. Unfortunately, that's true ?. You normally see atheists criticizing and attacking religious people because of their beliefs, not the other way around. From 1 Corinthians: <i>18 The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent." 20 So what does this say about the philosopher, the law expert, or anyone in this world who is skilled in making clever arguments? God has made the wisdom of the world look foolish. 21 This is what God in his wisdom decided: Since the world did not find him through its own wisdom, he used the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it. 25 Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.</i> -B: But only the humble hear the voice of God. ANY person can decide to hear His voice. __________________________________________________________ -S: Our bodies will be transformed into spirit, and then we'll be called up in the clouds to meet God. The end is coming soon. For the last time: <i>"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."</i> Matthew 24:36 __________________________________________________________ -F: You see, now's one of those times when I wish I was a believer. -S: Why? -F: 'Cause I would have a rock to stand on. 'Cause I could tell myself everything was for the better because God has a plan. That's a sign of faith in a person wanting to believe. Yet, that is not the reason one should seek God. That's why South Park made that "Jesus and Pals" idea: because some people's idea of God is that of a therapist, or a personal psychologist. That is not the idea. The most important objective in God's life is to save the souls of humanity, but it is each person's choice to accept it. -S: But it is...because He does. He does. -F: I tell myself if we didn't tell our children about God, they wouldn't ask. False. They live in a world that talks about God. -F: It is a story we tell ourselves so everything makes sense. No. Trust me, even living a life in Christ, some things are not clear because God does not care about you knowing the answer to certain enigmas about the life, existence or the Universe. Christians also have troubles and they don't always know the reasons of why. However, they do know that God has a plan and is in charge of everything as long as they trust in Him, pray daily, and do not fear. -F: How do you know? -S: The Bible. -F: Don't tell me "The Bible." Why not? It's God's Word. -S: It's a question of faith. -F: So there's no proof? Yes, there is. The strongest proof is our testimony, the testimony of believers, the testimony of God's sons. Once my Bible teacher told me: "The Bible that we believers read is the Bible itself. The Bible that nonbelievers read is our lives." __________________________________________________________ -M: If we pray to Daddy, can he hear us? -S: Well, we pray to God, and God tells Daddy what we're saying. This is an important warning. All prayers should be addressed to God and not to anybody else. <i>"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."</i> 1 Peter 5:7 __________________________________________________________ -F: God won't come, the bank will own your home and what are you going to do then? -S: I'm going to heaven. That didn't answer her friend's question, and is irrelevant. The fact that you're going to Heaven does not mean that you should take less care of your life here. __________________________________________________________ -M: This doesn't look like heaven, Mom. -S: This isn't heaven, honey. -M: Then why stop here? -S: Think of heaven as a great big hotel or a big office building. -M: Yeah? -S: Well, this is the lobby. Wtf... -S: This is where we have to wait. -M: For what? -S: The elevator. Seriously, wtf... __________________________________________________________ -M: I--I miss my daddy. -S: Honey, I miss your daddy, too. -M: I wanna see him again. -S: You will. You will see him in heaven. -M: Why can't we go to heaven, Mommy? I wanna go to heaven. -S: We have to wait until God calls us. I already cited Mathew 24:36 three times. Nobody knows the time, so you don't have to wait. The idea of reuniting with her daddy poisoned Mary's mind. They were never supposed to wait. -M: Did God call Daddy? When you die, is that when God calls you? -S: Yeah. -M: Then I wanna die. The poison finally reached Mary's soul. It's a really serious matter. When you make your girl wish to be dead, there's something seriously wrong. __________________________________________________________ -Sh: Could I ask you a question? -S: Sure. -Sh: Is this good for your little girl? NO! __________________________________________________________ -S: Do you love Jesus? -M: Yes. -S: You know, in heaven, there's Jesus and Baby Jesus together, and Baby Jesus has the special job of... He has the special job... of looking out for all the children. WHAT?! Bible cite needed, please!! __________________________________________________________ -S: If God loves us, He'll understand. We're going to heaven now. You cannot determine the times for God's will. <i>"My times are in thy hand..."</i> Psalm 31:15 __________________________________________________________ -S: ...I don't love Him! Not anymore. He has too many rules. This message is of utmost importance. From a human perspective, He does have "too many rules". What happens is that He has difficult rules; that's the key. The purpose of his rules and the commandments was not to make us lead a perfect life without a single flaw, but to make us realize that we cannot do these rules by our own. That's right: He gave us rules impossible to fulfill by our own. Therefore, they exist in order to make us realize the dependence we have of Him in order to fulfill them. He wanted us to surrender our lives since the beginning. And even so, these rules allow us to live a better life, yet God also contemplates the eternal. The most important thing for God is to save our souls for all eternity, and yet He also cares about our life in this earth. Sometimes also we create imaginary rules, such as making personal sacrifices and "behaving good" and "doing good deeds for people". That is not a requirement for Salvation: only repentance for our sins and accepting Christ in our hearts. He also knew that we would have troubles following his rules. Jesus Christ simplified the rules and commandments in only two! <i>"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."</i> Romans 13:9 <i>And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.</i> Mark 12: 29-31 So my advice is, follow only these two, and you'll see how everything else will sort itself out ;) . -S: He told me to meet Him in the desert, and I did, and I waited, and He didn't come. He never said that. That was said by a teenager, a boy who never had the Holy Spirit in him. Whenever a person draws your attention from God and pretends to be speaking in behalf of God, something is terribly wrong with him/her. -S: He broke His promise. No. -S: He let me kill my little girl... That was your decision. He let you because He gave you free will. -S: ...and He still expect me to love Him? He never expects that from us because it is a decision. He loves you no matter what, even if you don't love Him back. -S: I'm afraid of hell... Why? Weren't you supposed to be saved?? -S: I have to wait out my life... waiting for God. That stopped making sense now. Here, the analysis stops. I want to encourage people not to see this film as a representation of Christianism, because the film purposely plays with Lynchian elements and scary supernatural sequences which added a tone of fantasy to the film and a good amount of discussion material. That's all. 66/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2012
    I think I like it conceptually more than the actual execution. The middle portion isn't all that dramatically interesting, the stylistic choices are laughable on occasion and not all the performances work but there is something horrifying about allowing the Christian Fundamentalist view of end times to play out as they believe it will . . . in so doing Tolkin demonstrates how theologically flawed and morally repugnant their beliefs are. The fact that the film is willing to engage those it criticizes it admirable, and its probably why I still feel its effective despite the narrative problems I have.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2011
    Feels like a parody or a bible-belt propaganda piece for the bulk of its duration and then very nearly redeems itself with a very powerful closing scene. A conversion flick this is definitely not.
    Eduardo C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 07, 2011
    This turned out to be a ham-fisted and theologically suspect film about a possible scenario at the end of the age, utilizing a lot of the imagery and the narrative as found in the book of The Revelation of John. Mimi Rogers was very good as Sharon, a woman who finds God when her empty, hedonistic lifestyle bottoms out. Her quest for meaning for her life was fairly well portrayed although this viewer found her modesty a bit off putting, if she was supposed to be that into the swinging lifestyle. (Must have had a no nudity clause in her contract.) The performance of David Duchovny struck this viewer as pretty wooden and left one wondering how he went from interested skeptic to heart-felt believer. One also found oneself wondering about the connections between some of the characters. A little more back story would have lifted a bit of the fog surrounding them. And the loss of faith at the end seemed unnecessarily melodramatic. But, even with its many flaws, there was a lot to chew on here and for that it gets an otherwise undeserved third star.
    Mark A Super Reviewer

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