A feminist, queer story about a female evangelist that tackles power, privilege, and the impact of stories? Count me in. I’ve been excited about Sister Aimee since the trailer was released, and having seen the film, I can say it’s a delight. It’s out in limited release this coming Friday, and will be available on demand starting October 1. We’ll have a full interview with filmmakers Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann out Friday, as well as a review, but until then, check out this exclusive clip from the film.
Sister Aimee follows real life evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who, in the twenties, was the second-most-popular religious figure in America behind the Pope. Historically, Aimee disappeared for five weeks and then made a startling reappearance claiming she’d been kidnapped. The film—which outright tells the audience that the story they’re about to see is 5.5% true—is a fictionalized version of what might have occurred if Aimee had run off on her own.
When speaking to Buck and Schlingmann about why they chose to tell Aimee’s story in such a fictionalized way, they said,
We looked into her, and you’re quickly shaken by the craziness of her life and her disappearance, and the fact she was an evangelist that built this mass empire in Hollywood where you had stars coming to her church like Charlie Chaplin. So a lot of stuff that’s right up top that’s sort of interesting. But we were never really interested in making a sort of biopic about her, and the thing that ultimately convinced us to tell this kind of story and use her as a character is the fact that her disappearance seemed like a really interesting way of taking this period and thinking about this character and saying something about now, saying something about the power and privilege of storytelling specifically as it pertains to female characters and to church history.
The clip shows Aimee in one of her early attempts at healing an injured young man via prayer. You can see the fervor that believers have for Aimee, as well as her own ambition to save as many souls as she can. Star Anna Margaret Hollyman is a charismatic choice to play Aimee, and she captivates the audience both on and off screen. You get the sense that Aimee is always performing, which makes her a fascinating character to watch.
Be sure to come back later this week for our review of Sister Aimee, as well as an in depth breakdown of the film with the filmmakers.
(image: Obscured Pictures)
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