Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, HIGHER GROUND, depicts the landscape of a tight-knit spiritual community thrown off-kilter when one of their own begins to question her faith. Inspired by screenwriter Carolyn S. Briggs' memoir This Dark World, the film tells the story of a thoughtful woman's struggles with belief, love, and trust - in human relationships as well as in God. Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Fabulous Capturing of Fundamentalist Christian Culture
This amazingly intelligent and touching film, directed by Vera Farminga, her first, in which she also stars, was among the best I have seen this year. Farminga, known for Down to the Bone, Up in the Air, and a half dozen other fine films truly exhibits the range of her talents as an actress. The film portrays Christianity in particular, and religious faith in general at its best and its worst, depending on ones point of view. One thinks of the Tennyson quote: "there lives more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds," I loved the scene of her outside the church building with the dogs, which took on an amazing symbolism in its context as she had just been warned by her Christian counselor that she would be cast out of heaven "to the dogs." The ending will surprise viewers. It is not predictable. The music is also powerful and authentic and carries the mood and spirit of the faith the film faithfully reflects.
I think some of the negative reviews come from Christians who are offended at how this film portrays faith but there is no doubt that the kind of faith the film reflects is very alive and well, even though Christianity has many expressions around the world. This kind of charismatic evangelical fundamentalism is quite common outside the mainstream churches.
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