Guest / Limited Access /
Our Rating
2 Stars - Fair
Average Rating
(1 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
Directed By
Richard Rossi
Run Time
1 hour 50 minutes
Mimi Michaels, Laura Anderson, Carl Ballantine, Teres Byrne

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Aimee Semple McPherson was arguably America's best–known preacher. For seasons at a time, hardly a week went by when this glamorous, West Coast Pentecostal, often referred to simply as "Sister," did not make the front page of national papers.

McPherson preached an old–time gospel message, but two decidedly modern qualities riveted the jazz–age public, churched or not. The first was her use of media techniques. She was the first woman to own and operate a radio station in America, and her services took their cue from both the film industry and the Salvation Army, using every trick of music and pageantry to draw crowds and save souls.

The second quality was her Hollywood knack for scandal and rumor.

All of this makes McPherson a natural subject for a film treatment. Not surprisingly, her life has hit the screen before. The 1974 TV movie The Disappearance of Aimee was a Faye Dunaway/Bette Davis romp that never penetrated beyond her life's most sensational aspects. Auteur Richard Rossi's new direct–to–video film, Aimee Semple McPherson, goes much deeper.

Rossi, who wrote and directed the 2001 Motion Picture Council Best Documentary winner Saving Sister Aimee, uses McPherson's psyche as his palette. The movie opens with Aimee's notorious disappearance in 1926 during a swim off a California beach. It then traces her life from her teen years of doubt, conversion, and calling, to her eventual death under suspicious circumstances.

Throughout, Rossi probes the loneliness of this charismatic (in all senses) figure, etching her struggles with herself, her God, and those around her. In scenes so tightly shot as nearly to induce claustrophobia, Rossi depicts McPherson's relationships—and ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?
Why more parachurch groups are telling the US government they’re not like other nonprofits.
Current IssueThe Most Uncomfortable Christmas Verse
Subscriber Access Only
The Most Uncomfortable Christmas Verse
"But women will be saved by childbearing," may not mean what you think it means.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
Aimee Semple McPherson
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.