Every life is death, and most deaths are suicides. Some are just more gradual than others.
~ Maggie

Maggie (real name: Shelly Whipple) is a mysterious woman who claims to be from the the future and created a small cult based around her, and she is the main antagonist of the 2011 psychological thriller film Sound of My Voice.

She was portrayed by Brit Marling.


It began in comtemporary Los Angeles when a substitute school teacher named Peter Aitken and aspiring writer lover Lorna Michaelson, a married couple in their 20s were embarking on their first undercover journalism project. Their subject is a small cult led by the mysterious Maggie. Both Peter and Lorna have personal motivations to expose Maggie as a mere fraud.

When the cult considers Peter and Lorna ready to meet Maggie, they are told to shower thoroughly and dress in white surgical gowns. Then they are driven blindfolded to a secret location and received by Klaus, with whom they exchange a special, intricate handshake. They join with 8 other members and meet Maggie, who uses an oxygen tank and implies that the showering and clothing requirements are to avoid aggravating her illness.

The Cult of Maggie

A small cult of followers based around the mysterious Maggie.

Maggie claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2054 A.D. She describes the future as riddled with war, famine and struggle, and has come back to select a special band of chosen people to prepare for what lies ahead. She even tells a story of how she came to the year 2011 when she was awoken naked in in a bathtub within an apartment before being thrown out by a Mexican woman and walked in a long white cloth into the streets of LA without money or an ID or anything else as if she was homeless, before she was found. She leads the group in a series of intense psychological exercises and tells them about herself and the future, never proving nor disproving her extraordinary claim. Maggie's charismatic manner is powerful, and both Lorna and Peter have moments of wavering skepticism. Lorna is especially concerned when she notices that Peter, who was initially adamant that Maggie is a fraud, seems to be privately intrigued by Maggie and susceptible to the exercises.

After several group meetings, Maggie instructs Peter to bring her an eccentric 8-year-old student named Abigail Pritchett he has taught. She insists the student is her mother, and that he and Lorna will be banned from the group if he does not comply. When Peter admits that he is considering following Maggie's orders, Lorna is outraged and accuses him of falling for Maggie's deception. After they fight, Lorna is privately approached by Carol Briggs, a woman who is an agent of the Justice Department and she told her she was investigating Maggie who is a wanted international felon by her real name Shelly Whipple on the accounts of armed robbery and arson. Lorna agrees to help Carol set Maggie up to be captured, and to hide her plans from Peter.

Peter arranges for Maggie to meet the student in public during a class field trip. When Maggie meets Abigail, Peter is amazed to see them do the special handshake. Abigail herself asks how Maggie knew her secret handshake, and Maggie reverently responds: "You taught it to me.". Then police burst into the room and arrest Maggie. As cult members angrily accuse Peter of betraying Maggie, he exchanges a glance with Lorna who smiles slightly, affirming her role in the capture. His young student Abigail asks Peter who Maggie was, and he responds, stricken, that he does not know. The truth about Maggie remains ambiguous.