Higher Ground - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Higher Ground Reviews

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November 30, 2012
This was pretty good. A good drama about the tested faith of a woman fighting to find her own voice in a male dominated deeply religious community. It was really interesting to see the main character go through trying times with her faith by her side, and other times where the devoutness of the community tests her desire to be herself. Pretty good, honestly.
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2012
Faith and Feminism: The Movie.

That's a pretty good way to describe this, the directorial debut of its star Vera Farmiga. It's loosely based on some novelist's memoirs, and it follows a woman named Corrine who has spent the vast majority of her life immersed in a tightly-knit community of Fundamentalist Christians. Her life with them has been fine, but the older she grows, thew more her closeness to them begins to fracture. She starts to have a crisis of faith, and her task of trying to be simultaneously holy and worldly really takes a toll on her and those around her.

This is an emotional, challenging, and thoughtful film, and Expected it to be no less than this given it's and indie, and someone like Farmiga is at the helm. She's a great actress, an intellectual feminist, and very sensitive when it comes to shedding light on the particular subjects the film deals with, namely, how to be a good faithful Fundamentalist, yet also be a believer in feminism.

Besides herself, Farmiga acts alongside a crack cast that includes reliable supporters like John Hawkes, Joshua Leonard, Norbert Leo Butz, and Dagmara Dominczyk among others. All of the performances are quite good, and you can see that this was really an earnest labor of love for them.

Movies like Saved! had previously tackled this kind of subject matter, but I found this treatment to be quite fresh and absorbing. As someone who has personally had his faith tested, I felt I could relate to this film to some degree, but I really don't know how an atheist or some other type of person would react to this. As such, maybe it's best to just treat this as primarily a character study instead of a specific treatise or something.

The music is good, the camera work is decent, and the film is actually about something important, yet is also entertaining. As such, this is definitely one I recommend. I also hope to see more directorial work from Farmiga in the future, because, even though I love her acting, she really shows a lot of promise behind the camera, too.
October 21, 2012
slow and boring...and religious freaks give me the creeps...
½ October 8, 2012
I didn't understand her problem, and I didn't really care.
½ September 27, 2012
It is as uneven and indulgent as one might expect from a first film. Still Farmiga seems content to rock back and forth on the issue of faith without needing resolution. Some scenes clink and rattle with false notes, but others ring out for days after viewing. This is, to me, the mark of a fine new artist experimenting intriguingly with the form. A feminine film in every sense, this is unapologetically women's work.
September 22, 2012
Vera Farmiga's performance is a force to be reckoned with
she amazingly portrays a woman who attempts to look beyond her faith and in the process is looked down upon because of it
choosing to believe something else, paying the consequences of it, and learning a great deal more about her belief system
it might question a few things too much about religion but Farmiga's directorial debut shines regardless
September 8, 2012
The editing with just awful - and the script - and (some) of the acting.
½ September 4, 2012
There's probably an audience for this, but it ain't me
August 17, 2012
Poorly paced, pointless and boring, Higher Ground has its moments for sure, but they are so few and far between that you don't really care anyway. Every character is unlikable and I didn't sympathize with the main character at all. I found her annoying and contrived even if her performance was pretty good. 3/4 of the movie is spent with meaningless uber-religious mumble. At first I thought, this has to pay off somewhere; there HAS to be some reason for including these parts. Maybe they will show the evil side of organized religion or possibly they'll tell the story of how she grows as a person after being trapped by unfriendly jesus freaks. But nope, there was very little pay off and nothing really felt like it was necessary to be in the movie. I feel like the director dropped the ball on every chance to turn the movie around. Oh, she finds another guy who is friendly, different and funny? Will she give up her old ways to be with this new guy? Again, no, she would rather have their possible storyline be squashed by him reading kids book with another lady gripping his leg while the main character does a weird little smile.
½ August 8, 2012
In painting a picture of American Christianity, the strokes are a bit too broad for my taste at times. As a film, it is meandering and doesn't quite seem to gel, even by the ending, which felt out of left field. However, it is beautifully shot for the most part, and Vera Farmiga's performance was excellent.
½ August 8, 2012
I was just really into it. I thought it was well made and I thought it was a story that needed telling. I don't know...I just enjoyed all of the brilliant emotional moments in the film, it was acted out so skillfully that I just, lost myself...which is what I always want to happen to me when I watch a film. I want to be so smitten with or interested with the characters that I begin to feel like my attraction to them just brings me further into the experience. This is one such film. Keep directing Vera, you're a genius.
July 29, 2012
Good religious movie I can't deeply touch. Vera Farmiga's vision as the first time director was strong enough to move on a next step and she also performed well, so did her youngest sister Taissa in the same role.
July 26, 2012
Very unusual where I found myself liking parts of it but hating the rest.
July 13, 2012
Brilliant! Tests your faith in God, Life and Love with the person you are with. The final result is up to you.
½ July 9, 2012
Deep and not judgmental
June 28, 2012
Vera Farmiga is an actress, one of those that never became really famous, but that are fundamental in a cast. Now she's decided to try directing a very particular movie, in which she's also the lead actress. This movie didn't arrive in my country, probably none has never heard of it, and it's easy to understand why when you read the subject. It was a casuality that I saw it and it caught my attention. it talks about a woman which has grown up in a religious family, in a much religious country and she tries all her life to find a connection with god, but she doesn't succeed. What strikes me most is the fact that the community in which she lives most of her life is not so typical fundamentalist: they accept the fact that women have a sexuality and the males try their best to make their wives happy, even if they don't understand completely why. Anyway women have a place that is behind their husbands, they must shut up and support the men in all the possible ways. But a woman with a bit of culture and education can't accept a fact like this and this is the real subject of this story: she believes in God and she appreciates the total faith of her group, but she is not able to accept it without discussions. I wish some of my friends could see this movie just to talk about it!
June 26, 2012
Both of these movies contain way too many sermons & church songs, for the liking of an atheist like me. Yet, they are at the end both critical/skeptical about the religion, showing the progression of their protagonist from non-belief to belief [evangelical Christianity] & then to non-belief again.

Because of the intensity of the drama in the Secret Sunshine, I liked it somewhat more (although I appreciate understated movies too). But true superiority of the "Secret Sunshine" versus "Higher Ground" is in its ending, which is much more masterfully done. And, while "Higher Ground" tends to be provocative in more sophomoric ways (although I loved the scene when she asks the "therapist" if he'd enjoy watching her burn in hell). "Secret Sunshine" asks more serious philosophical questions such as whether the God has the right to forgive a murder when the victim's mother hasn't forgiven him first.
½ June 25, 2012
Vera Farminga is awesome. Family/Faith drama, so it's a bit slow. Not predictable and realistic in a way that's kinda like hanging out in church, so not exactly edge of your seat.
June 4, 2012
Deals with the subject matter in a respectful and quirky way that makes it very appealing to watch without feeling too serious and preachy. Vera does a great job both as the lead and as director.
May 29, 2012
Quiet and thoughtful. Nothing Hollywood about this one.
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