6.3/10
2,727
34 user 68 critic

Higher Ground (2011)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A chronicle of one woman's lifelong struggle with her faith.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

At Middleton (2013)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two parents fall in love over the course of a single day while playing hooky from their children's college tour.

Director: Adam Rodgers
Stars: Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga
Never Forever (2007)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When an American woman begins a dangerous relationship with an attractive immigrant worker, in order to save her marriage, she finds her true self.

Director: Gina Kim
Stars: Vera Farmiga, David Lee McInnis, Joseph Y. Kim
Quid Pro Quo I (2008)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A semi-paralyzed radio reporter is sent out to investigate a story that leads him into an odd subculture and on a journey of disturbing self-realization.

Director: Carlos Brooks
Stars: Nick Stahl, Vera Farmiga, Leonardo Nam
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Romanian police officer teams up with a small crew of old friends from the World War II Jewish Resistance to pull off a heist by convincing everyone at the scene of the crime that they are only filming a movie.

Director: Nae Caranfil
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Mark Strong, Harry Lloyd
Goats (2012)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As Ellis prepares to leave Tucson for his freshman year at an East Coast prep school, he also faces separating from his flaky, new age mother and the only real father he has ever known: Goat Man.

Director: Christopher Neil
Stars: David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Graham Phillips
Joshua (2007)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The arrival of a newborn girl causes the gradual disintegration of the Cairn family; particularly for 9-year-old Joshua (Kogan), an eccentric boy whose proper upbringing and refined tastes both take a sinister turn.

Director: George Ratliff
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Jacob Kogan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pastor Bill
...
Ned
...
McKenzie Turner ...
Young Corrine Walker
...
Kathleen Walker
...
Matthew Dubas ...
Salesman
Taylor Schwencke ...
Young Wendy Walker
Jillian Lindig ...
Mrs. Tuttle
...
Alden Rosakranse ...
Tim
...
James Noon ...
Kirk
Kaitlyn Rae King ...
Teenage Wendy Walker
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 2012 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

This Dark World  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,495 (USA) (28 August 2011)

Gross:

$841,206 (USA) (1 January 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Vera Farmiga directed this film while five months pregnant. See more »

Goofs

At the therapist's office, the wall clock is clearly not working as the second hand is not moving. See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Favorite Films Based on Books (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

I Need Thee Every Hour
Written by Annie Sherwood Hawks and Robert Lowry
Arranged by Clyde Bawden
Performed by Catherine Papworth and Clyde Bawden
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great film about one woman's spiritual journey and struggle with faith
15 January 2012 | by (Southern California Desert, USA) – See all my reviews

Higher ground is one the finest films on its subject ever made, as well as one of the best films this year. Surprisingly, it's the directorial debut of one of our finest actors, Vera Farmiga. She's been very good in every film in which she's played any role, but is probably best known for her Oscar nominated turn in Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, opposite George Clooney. But for her own film, Farmiga has chosen a very difficult subject – one woman's struggle with her faith; her tenuous relationship with her husband inside a strictly defined religious community; and most important, her personal relationship with God.

The story covers the three-decade spiritual journey (late '50s through '70s) of Corinne, played as a little girl by McKensie Turner, as a teenager by Farmiga's younger sister, Taissa, and as a grown woman by Farmiga herself, in a performance that is brave, nuanced, and emotionally powerful. Hollywood films on this subject can either preach to the choir or have a contemptuous agenda, but Farmiga's film isn't about whether this or that religion is good or bad. It's about faith, and doubt, and finding one's way in life. In fact, this is the best work on the subject since Meryl Streep dazzled us in "Doubt." Here's how it goes: As a little girl, Corinne's pastor shows her how to invite Jesus into her heart, an idea that appeals to her since her home life is marred by a drunken father (John Hawkes) and a mother who has eyes for other men (Donna Murphy). But Corinne doesn't quite know what she's supposed to feel. She does like animals, and she also gives an accordion a try, when a door-to-door salesman pitches one to the family. Corinne's mother says, "She's not musical," to which the salesman quickly replies, "Maybe she hasn't found her instrument yet." This foreshadows Corrine's struggle to find her path to God.

Corinne is intellectually curious and has a talent for writing, and when a young guitarist asks her to write a song with him, she finds herself doing what so many teenagers have done before, and then pregnancy and a wedding follow. Corinne must then put her dreams of a writing career on hold, as she cares for the baby while her husband plays in a rock band. But a near tragic experience convinces them they need to give up this reckless life and join an evangelical Christian church. Corinne wants very badly to feel the Spirit, and to be happy with her husband in this religious community, but she doesn't feel what her pastor preaches, nor what she sees other members feeling. This is both a puzzlement and a torment to her, especially when she makes a good friend, Annika, played wonderfully by Dagmara Dominczyk, to whom loving and feeling God come easily.

This particular Christian community will be one many people recognize; they adhere to the bible's word and are happy to follow a strict patriarchal discipline. As a director, Farmiga does not judge, but those who do not subscribe to this type of religious practice may, and that would be a mistake. These are not bad people, they have chosen a life that works for them; it just may not be a good fit for Corinne. She's smart, studies the bible along with many other books, and she feels she has something valuable to share with the congregation. But when she speaks up, she's admonished by the pastor's wife for "coming very close to preaching and attempting to teach the men." She chafes under this restraint, which seems unreasonable to her. And then a second, very real, tragedy strikes, turning her struggle into a spiritual crisis. I think many people will recognize precisely this experience from their own lives: it is very real.

Farmiga's film does not hurry, the story unfolds slowly, and it also contains a fair amount of humor. I could've died laughing during a scene in which Corinne's marriage counselor tells her about "a dire MacMuffin moment," but it was no laughing matter. There are also many small everyday family scenes that may not seem of much consequence, but every piece of the story is important, so watch and listen carefully, as everything builds to one of the most emotionally powerful endings of any film this year. At the climax, Corinne speaks to the congregation, from her heart, a heart that perhaps gives too much, and also with a mind trying very hard to make sense of what it means to walk "The Higher Ground." In the end, we get a sense that Corinne will find her instrument, and that she will go on to make music with God.

Higher Ground is an excellent film and a brilliant directorial debut by Vera Farmiga, from whom I think we can expect great things in the future. I highly recommend it to all who appreciate literary quality stories that deal honestly with human feelings and relationships.


24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

"The IMDb Show": Alan Tudyk, His Top 5 Star Wars Droids, and Denzel's Dream Role

"The IMDb Show" Thanksgiving special: Alan Tudyk ranks his top five droids, we talk with the cast of Roman J. Israel, Esq., and we share our favorite Thanksgiving TV episodes.

Watch the show