HIGHER GROUND Movie Review
HIGHER GROUND is Vera Farmiga’s (Source Code, Up in the Air) first venture into directing. But that’s not all, to add to the pressure, she’s also starring as the main character, Corinne, a woman struggling with her faith.
Higher Ground follows a religious community of evangelical Christians to which Corinne and her family belong. However, as things unfold, Corinne starts to question her faith and her place in the community.
I think the biggest issue I had with Higher Ground is that I couldn’t relate to the story or any of its characters. But even more than that, the story never really took off. Corinne’s conflict leading to the climax of the story felt slow and once we did reach the turning point of the story, it seemed to get stuck there instead of moving forward. Finally, the resolution almost felt like a step back. Instead of moving forward and exploring Corinne’s sense of doubt, the exploration felt like nothing more than Corinne’s first baby step.
I was really disappointed by where the story ended, because I feel the movie laid down such great groundwor which was never used to propel the story forward.
What the film does have going for it is a great cast and some good performances. Even if you don’t know her name, you’ve most likely seen Vera Farmiga in something. She’s one of the most talented actresses currently gracing our screens, and in Higher Ground you can once again see why she has such a great and extensive filmography.
The rest of the cast is also worth noting and is rounded up with Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project, Humpday), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, Contagion), Donna Murphy (Disney’s Tangled), Dagmara Dominczyk (The Count of Monte Cristo), Norbert Leo Butz (Fair Game), Bill Irwin (Rachel Getting Married), Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Mona Lisa Smile), and Taissa Farmiga.
Overall, not my cup of tea, but if the story sounds like something you might enjoy, then maybe you should give Higher Ground a chance.
The movie hits limited theaters in New York and Los Angeles today, August 26th, 2011.
Finally, I want to leave you with a statement from director Vera Farmiga about the film:
This film asks, “Is it possible for faith and doubt to coexist? What is a healthy soul? What holds us back from inner growth?” Christianity is the “location” of the film, not the subject, concern, or issue. The film could have just as easily been set in a variety of faiths or cultures. The film is not about the rights and wrongs of religion; it is about those moments in life where you lose sight of who you are, what you believe, and where you are going. Those moments of stumbling. The film is about finding your footing. Finding security. Feeling secure in the knowledge you will make it to higher ground. It’s okay to fall short, okay to be inadequate, okay to be afraid, okay to have doubt. But there will be a path through all these things, and you possess within you all you need to draw yourself up to higher ground, to your highest self.