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Higher Ground (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (2011)

Vera Farmiga , Joshua Leonard , Vera Farmiga  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk, Norbert Leo Butz, Michael Chernus
  • Directors: Vera Farmiga
  • Writers: Carolyn S. Briggs, Tim Metcalfe
  • Producers: Brice Dal Farra, Carly Hugo, Carolyn S. Briggs, Claude Dal Farra, Jeremy Newmark
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005TK2252
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,482 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Higher Ground (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard and Renn Hawkey
The Substance of Things Hoped For: Making Higher Ground
Production Diary
Toe Sucking
Meeting of the Men

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir, “This Dark World” , the film tells the story of a thoughtful woman’s struggles with belief, love and trust. A woman who learns that no matter how many times she loses her footing, she has within herself all that’s necessary to get to a higher place.

A curious young girl tries to check out Lord of the Flies from the library, only to be turned away by a stern librarian… thus begins a woman's bumpy relationship with religion, captured in the rich and rewarding Higher Ground. This is a movie that's all in the details. Corinne (Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air) vacillates between a craving for grace and resistance to the sincere but restrictive narrowness of her church; this plot description, though accurate, suggests something dour and angst-ridden. Instead, Higher Ground is full of humor, warmth, and a questioning but sincere look at a small religious community. Faith--a devotion to something unseen--is a tricky topic for a medium committed to the sensual pleasure of surfaces, but Higher Ground captures the yearning for connection, both human and divine, that brings churchgoers together. Farmiga, who also directed, projects a compelling mix of intelligence and vulnerability. She's at the center of an outstanding cast, including John Hawkes (Me and You and Everyone We Know), Joshua Leonard (Humpday), Donna Murphy (Trust Me), and numerous superb character actors. Don't overlook this wonderful movie. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A substantial work of sensitivity and excellence. January 11, 2012
Professional critics were fairly lukewarm toward this film, although even then, many acknowledged that elements within it are exceptional. For one thing, it is very unusual to see a serious work that treats religion--and a rather fundamentalist form of Christianity at that--seriously and without insult, irony, or undue reverence. Most films focusing on related topics either satirize people of faith (Saved!) or offer syrupy endorsements of faith Fireproof). Rarely is faith depicted as the mixed bag it often is. While "Higher Ground" doesn't have the same scope and grandeur, in that one particular--treating faith seriously--it reminded me most of The Mission (Two-Disc Special Edition).

I was surprised and delighted to see all of the five-star reviews already posted. My concern is that many people would miss the uniqueness of this film and mistake it for either a hatchet job (because church life and serious spiritual commitments are depicted warts and all--it's not all smooth sailing for this male-dominated, anti-intellectual sect) or an endorsement of fundamentalism (because it's not all bad, either--the movie just assumes that faith provides comforts, joys, principles, and experiences that can have transcendent value for those who hold to it).

Sexuality, which is often a hot topic for fundamentalists, is treated frankly and realistically, and consequently provides some of the movie's greatest moments of humor. C.S. Lewis wrote that Eros is a comic spirit, and "Ground" does not shy away from that aspect of life.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Film January 11, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This is a must see. As other reviewers have pointed out, it treats the subject matter in a very non-judgmental way, simply portraying one woman's struggle without caricaturing the faith community. A unique perspective. I highly recommend this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Vera Farmiga tackles yet another topic that could have been inflammatory although with her, it is not. Using an honesty and bravery which she is so easily capable of in this her directing debut. She is looking at the subject of one woman's (Corrine Miller, also portrayed by Farmiga) faith and the eventual questioning about this through the vehicle of the 1970's Fundamentalist movement. This portrait has a lovely soundtrack (Alec Puro) that brings this all to life and is definitely worth noting. Farmiga directs without the condescending or mocking tone towards Christianity which is often present in films. It has an intelligent broader appeal, to the believer and the nonbeliever alike. It is a question of personal faith, not of righteousness through Christianity.

The movie starts with Corrine's childhood in Vacation Bible School with the pastor, Bud (done wonderfully by Bill Irwin). The picture quickly shifts to Corrine's teenage years. She is a writer and meets her future spouse, Ethan, who wants her to write for his rock band. They eventually marry and a short while after their first daughter is born. A heart-pounding tragedy then happens. This leads the couple to their established adult family life in a fundamental church community. Ethan Miller (Joshua Leonard) has given up the rock life and is an elder in the church. Corrine is a devoted and devout young wife and mother. Add to the mix her best friend (Anika) whom Corrine is so close to. She adds light, color, and life to their friendship. Nika is extremely devout herself as she is also playful and fun for Corrine.

There are so many happenings throughout the fifteen year marriage, both in her church life and her personal life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and provocative January 13, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I can't think of a movie in recent memory that has truly risen to treat the subject of religion. Vera Farmiga's new film, Higher Ground, does so with honesty, not reaching for an easy black and white resolution. It raises very relevant questions for anyone who has tried to reconcile spirituality with life in the modern world. And though the topic may seem austere, Farmiga does a wonderful job (as director and lead) of imbuing this film with subtlety and humor.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Low-Key Realism January 12, 2012
This is a review of the movie DVD disc only.

The film doesn't have the look of a plotted, story-boarded narrative. There's no imposed arc or resolution to the gentle moments of a woman's life shown here. We see her low-key movement toward, and then away from, religious attendance.

Contrary to what the film's cover might lead one to believe, this is no indictment of another megalomaniacal cult leader. There are no bad guys here. This film does a remarkable job presenting a series of realistic, slice-of-life scenes. We feel as if we are eavesdropping in a woman's everyday kitchen, at her everyday church services.

The producers also did a remarkable job finding actors to play the lead as a girl, then as a teen, then as a mature woman. For once, there does appear to be a continuity of features, unlike most films involving time progressions in which it's impossible to believe that child grew into an adult who would look like that.

This whole film is absorbingly realistic and touching. As movie-goers, we might be used to more dramatic action, so it takes a while to calm down into the more reflective mood of this piece. For example, it was only when I viewed this movie through for the second time, that I caught the moving coincidence of the scene in which Corinne sits on her church steps, patting a stray dog who has temporarily attached itself to her.

This isn't a chick-flick. Nor is it a charge against religious fanaticism. Nor is it any kind of standard beginning-middle-and-end story. This movie is unclassifiable - like life itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie, even a masterpiece. But not uplifting as Duvall's...
My initial reaction was puzzlement. I could not see who this movie would appeal to. It had too much frank sexual content and exhibiting of worts among the faithful. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jay Linnstrom
4.0 out of 5 stars a most thought provoking movie
having read the book, i was very interested in seeing the movie. this was a purchase and i will be watching it again as it also stimulated me to read the book again. Read more
Published 9 months ago by nancy holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman are Inportant to Christ
We live in a society where women are still overlooked even though Christ came through a woman. Why are men still blaming their weakness on us still. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ginger
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone with faith can relate to this movie...none without it.
4 stars because the script is absolutely credible, acting convincing, and directing well done. Though not intended as an exciting movie, nor is it, it is a movie than anyone with... Read more
Published 14 months ago by William L. Walsh
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong DVD sent
I loved the movie when seeing it on tv, but the DVD that was sent was from Italy and would not play on my set.
Published 15 months ago by emil R Waldmann
2.0 out of 5 stars never got the 2 blue ray dvd in higher ground
i ordered a two two disc blu ray combo and only got one blue ray cd And never got the the other the 2 dvd that was to be in dvd set
Published 16 months ago by john keenan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies
This movie gently portrays the path one takes when questioning faith after years of being in the circle. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Coffee Drinking Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie to watch many times over.
I have now seen this movie three times - once at a local art theatre, and twice since I have purchased it from Amazon - and I think it's time to view it again! Read more
Published 22 months ago by Racerkat
4.0 out of 5 stars Farmiga is excellent in this
Great movie for people who are interested in a quest for the meaning of human existence. No one in this movie is evil encarnate although they do make serious mistakes.
Published 22 months ago by Marion Seymour
3.0 out of 5 stars I never Ordered This
I told amazon I didnt order this book but I am writing a review just to get it off my review list.
I am giving it a 3 star so I dont upset the reviews of those that really... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Vince
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