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5.0 out of 5 stars Faith Is The Issue And How One Keeps It. Possibly - or Not - On Higher Ground., January 19, 2012
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This review is from: Higher Ground (2011) (Amazon Instant Video)
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. Vera Farmiga handles this with a special skill and precision, which leads our protagonist to doubting and the questioning of her faith. Corrine begs God to help her to "feel" Him again. At this point she says that she "feels nothing" when she "used to be so full". One situation which occurs is the horrific happening to Nika and then to their relationship together. I could literally feel the pain of it rip right through Corrine in a powerful reaction in their church. I also saw the seeds of a huge loss grow ever deeper as it would send anyone reeling. Nika is her confidante in life, her dearest friend, and the only one she goes to.

Adding laughter of life with friends and family situations, there is some injected humor, although the piece itself is in no way a comedy. Humor is mainly brought into this story from the two friends which keeps their union fresh and close. What they say or do may be frowned upon by the church although I saw it as anything any two very close` women would share. This is another reason I find this movie so relevant, these two are friends in the truest form. The ending is quite brilliant (without giving a thing away). We simply see Corrine, who has gone through just about everything unexpected in the film, walking out into the bright sunshine on the street. This leaves an open-ended conclusion and a conclusion for the viewer to decide. See this for its great storytelling and provocative theme. Also see this for a lively discussion afterwards. It was very helpful for me on a personal level and left me thinking on it for a long while that is until I purchased it.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 23, 2012 6:06:12 PM PST
Freddie says:
There is so much depth and personal insight to this movie, it must be up to the individual to decide the impact of this movie to one's self. It is still circling in my mind like a needle caught in a record going nowhere but round and round in the same spot. It has me wondering about the depth of my own unity of faith.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2012 2:09:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 24, 2012 2:11:41 AM PST
Freddie-I agree with you about the 'staying power' of this movie. As you apply it to a record's revolution personally, I can appreciate that. I can also see a forward progression in Corrine's journey. Thank you for adding that comment, as yes, this movie is deep. Sheryl

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 4:53:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 17, 2012 11:49:29 AM PST]
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