Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Rapture' Tackles the Subject of One Woman's Fundamentalism FILM: REVIEW

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Rapture' Tackles the Subject of One Woman's Fundamentalism FILM: REVIEW

Article excerpt

'THE Rapture" takes its title from a belief of many Christian fundamentalists: that shortly before the Apocalypse, true Christians will be taken from Earth directly into God's presence, thereby escaping the trials and torments of those left behind.

Focusing on a "born-again" woman who fervently believes in such teachings, the movie is a flawed but ambitious effort to treat evangelical Christianity in dramatic terms. It's not a great film, by a long shot, but it's riveting to watch - if only because it deals with a part of American religion that rarely finds its way into mainstream cinema.

Sharon, played by Mimi Rogers, begins the story as a sensual "swinging single" who indulges in small-scale orgies with her boyfriend and strangers they pick up around the city. Her life is as empty as it is lascivious, and she unconsciously longs for something to give it meaning and purpose.

Picking up hints of a religious group she'd never heard of, she becomes curious to learn more, and gradually works toward a moment of decision; this comes at a time when she's plunged into despair, and it instantly transforms her. She changes her habits, marries a born-again man, and becomes a clean-living citizen with solid commitments to her family and her fundamentalist community.

After an unexpected tragedy in her life, however, she begins to feel that God is calling her in a special way - to forsake all earthly things and take her daughter to the desert, there to be "raptured up" immediately. The last portion of the story shows her leaving the framework of her religious group and acting on her own notions of what God wants from her. The movie ends with the Apocalypse itself, complete with Four Horsemen and other Biblical imagery. By this point Sharon's harsh experiences have taught her to rely on her own conscience rather than dogmatic teachings, and the last scene finds her still wrestling with truly ultimate decisions. …

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