Rapture: What Inspired Michael Tolkin

When Michael Tolkin wrote The Rapture, he hardly thought that he was following any trend.

This rigorous non-studio movie about a lost woman (Mimi Rogers), who finds happiness (for a time) through discovering God, stirred up controversy at the recent Telluride Film Festival.

Tolkin says he wrote The Rapture in reaction to 1980s movies, which “were turning audiences into a mass. The movies that moved you as kids and through the ’60s left you with your identity left you with insight into yourself. Tragedy was still possible.

At the end of the 1975 satire, Shampoo, Warren Beatty is left alone, and you identify with him. Compare that to Rocky and Indiana Jones, E.T., in which the audience is a violent mass united against some scapegoat. Movies have become ‘lynch mob.'”

The idea for The Rapture came to Tolkin after he watched long hours of Christian TV in the early 1980s. He realized he was sympathetic-toward the fundamentalists’ unhappiness over the state of society.

“Their diagnosis seemed correct,” he says, “but I disagreed with their prescription. These are the issues of the day–it’s all around us. Americans are obsessed with redemption– They are very scared.”