How are you gonna keep ‘em on the farm once they’ve seen God? That’s the question posed by this somewhat full-of-itself but bizarrely intriguing allegory. Mimi Rogers is Sharon, a bitter Los Angeles phone operator who goes cruising at night for kinky sex with couples. The people at her office begin whispering of a dream about “the pearl” and speaking in grave tones about Judgment Day. People from all over have had this same dream, but only the ones who have accepted Christ as their personal savior. Sharon thinks this is bullshit, but some part of her wants to believe it because her life has begun to nauseate her.
After a few days Sharon comes around; she gives up the swinger life and even smoking, and Mimi Rogers’ performance gets bland for a while. Scrubbed and content, Sharon marries her former swinging partner (David Duchovny), has a beautiful blond girl, and looks heavenward every few frames. Then God calls her to the desert, and Rogers’ performance becomes brave and complex, as does the movie, until its ultra-literal and borderline goofy finale. First-time director Michael Tolkin (The Player) is to be commended for bringing off what could’ve been a tedious sermon. (His sense of humor comes through when the converted Sharon gushes about God while a fellow swinger thinks she’s talking about some new guy she’s picked up.) Exasperating at times — as the most challenging films often are — but provocative and ambitious.