Higher Ground - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Higher Ground Reviews

Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
October 7, 2011
Vera Farmiga makes a heavenly debut as a director with Higher Ground, a compelling drama about a woman's spiritual journey.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 23, 2011
The film's quiet realism demands from us our own act of faith: We're asked to watch closely and to listen intently in the promise of a greater reward to come. Well, the promise is partly kept.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
September 23, 2011
Farmiga's first film is good enough to make us look forward to her next one.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
September 16, 2011
The film is refreshingly free of proselytizing. In its place, however, is a whiff of condescension.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 16, 2011
This film might easily have settled for mocking religion. Instead, it's a fascinating glimpse into a culture that forces some people to choose between fitting in and opting out.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 15, 2011
At times, these analogies feel forced. But give the rookie filmmaker credit for visual storytelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
September 9, 2011
Farmiga is terrific, but her clear vision as a director and her ability to play fair with believers and skeptics alike provides the balance and insight needed to ground the film in thoughtful reality.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 8, 2011
There's a gentleness to "Higher Ground" that's very appealing; you sense a real affection for all the characters, particularly the women, and a genuine curiosity about religion as a guiding principal in one's life.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 8, 2011
The film is ultimately a message movie about the virtue of independent thinking, offering plenty of small insights but no revelations.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 8, 2011
"Higher Ground'' is a noble failure, a case of an artist loving a character so much that she loses sight of why.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 6, 2011
The movie is flushed with hope, wonder, heartbreak.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
September 1, 2011
"Higher Ground" shines a light on an important aspect of the human experience, one not often explored onscreen, and contains a number of notable performances - not the least of which is Farmiga in the central role.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
September 1, 2011
"Higher Ground" glides and takes time to explore. In the best way it feels very '70s: It's about a relatable lost soul finding herself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 1, 2011
In a world where believers and agnostics are polarized and hold simplified ideas about each other, it takes a step back and sees faith as a series of choices that should be freely made.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 30, 2011
The crucial thing about Higher Ground is that it takes at face value the faces, many bearded, almost all beatific, that the camera surveys -- quite an achievement, given Hollywood's woeful record in the dramatizing of faith.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
August 26, 2011
Higher Ground is one of the few open-minded Hollywood movies about Christian fundamentalism, but the mind isn't sufficiently exploratory.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 26, 2011
It's a movie of glances, emotions that pass between characters - which the camera, and the other characters, sometimes inconveniently notice.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
August 26, 2011
Most contemporary movies either treat religion uncri tically or mock it outright. This promising directing debut by whip-smart actress Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air") takes another, more interesting path.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
August 26, 2011
This would be tricky territory for the most experienced director, but I can't remember the last time I saw organized religion handled in such an even-handed, thoughtful manner.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
August 25, 2011
Corinne's journey is riveting not because she seeks the divine, but because she finds herself.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 25, 2011
High praise for Vera Farmiga, a stunner of an actress, who makes her directing debut with the same bold instincts for sharp humor and harsh truths that mark her performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
August 25, 2011
There is something remarkable - you might even say miraculous - about the way "Higher Ground" makes its gentle, thoughtful way across the burned-over terrain of the American culture wars.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
August 25, 2011
The same intelligence, wit and mature spirit that actress Vera Farmiga brings to her performances is richly apparent in her directorial debut as well, the inquisitive spiritual drama "Higher Ground."
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
August 25, 2011
As director, Farmiga is a strong believer in cinematic democracy, allowing the other actors to seize the center of the action and the frame.
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
August 25, 2011
A shapeless collection of tonally diverse moments strung together with little organizing principle beyond the protagonist's identity struggles.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
August 24, 2011
Higher Ground insists on the deep normality of true believers, but it also portrays their belief as a choice that seeps into mundane moments of existence.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
August 24, 2011
Funny and heartbreaking, this is a movie that would have made the '80s-era Jonathan Demme, attuned to American anxieties, blush with pride.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
August 23, 2011
Even at its most clumsy, Farmiga's directorial debut makes you look forward to her next effort from behind the camera...
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
August 23, 2011
Even with her beatific face (the actress looks like one of Parmigianino's Madonnas), Farmiga is never wholly believable as a woman shaken by a crisis of belief.
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
August 23, 2011
"Higher Ground" probably sounds rather somber, but Farmiga also deftly conveys the absurdity of Corinne's predicament. Every once in a while she'll let out a cackle that's just pure joy.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
August 22, 2011
A satirical yet sensitive portrait of life in an evangelical Christian community, Higher Ground marks a startlingly bold directing debut for actress Vera Farmiga.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 25, 2011
The film is a deft, graceful and often poignant story of a woman's quest to find her own identity and a spiritual sanctuary that will give her life hope and meaning.