Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Higher Ground

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual content
Profanity:Some very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Some very explicit sexual references and images and explicit situations, teen pregnancy
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drugs
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril, very sad illness and disability
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:August 26, 2011

Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Departed”) directed and stars in “Higher Ground,” the true story of a woman’s spiritual journey, based on Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S. Briggs.

It is a rare film about faith that is sincere and respectful in its appreciation for believers and those who struggle to find a connection with God.  We first see Corinne as a little girl in church, shyly raising her hand when the preacher (Bill Irwin) asks the children to close their eyes and put their hands up if this is the day they will open their hearts to Jesus.  As a teenager (played by Farmiga’s younger sister, Taissa), she becomes pregnant and marries her musician boyfriend.  After a near-death experience, he becomes a believer and they join a community of Christians who live simply and support each other.  Corinne’s closest relationship is with her friend Annika (Dagmara Dominczyk), and is inspired by Annika’s ability to be passionate in all of her relationships, including her connection to the Almighty.

Corinne struggles to find that kind of passionate transcendence, but she feels constrained when her preacher’s wife gently chides her for impinging on worship that is reserved for men and for wearing a dress that shows her shoulders.  She prays for a certainty and completeness in faith that she sees around her but cannot achieve.  Just as her husband’s faith is cemented by a tragedy averted, hers is tested to the breaking point by a loss she cannot understand.

As a director, Farmiga allows us to share privileged moments with Corinne and the other characters and as an actress, she glows with the humility and honesty of her seeking.  Her quest, which clearly is continuing as she stands on the threshold at the end of the film (and as we know she will go on to write her book) is itself a form of prayer, as is this movie, a reaching out for understanding and and openness that makes faith a continual source of renewal.

Parents should know that this movie includes some strong language and very explicit sexual references and images, sexual situations, and teen pregnancy.  Characters drink and one has drugs, there is a bus accident, and a character is ill and disabled.

Family discussion: How did Corinne’s faith change over time?  How did it differ from her husband’s?  From Annika’s?  What will she do next?  How does Farmiga let you know what she thinks of the characters?

If you like this, try: “The Apostle”



Previous Posts

Interview: Ira Glass Talks to "Boyhood's" Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/D6mwbnSIk4c" frameborder="0"] "Boyhood" writer/director Richard Linkater and star Ellar Coltrane talk to "This American Life's" Ira Glass about making the film over a twelve year period that began when Coltrane was six years old.

posted 9:59:48am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Super Bowl Commercials 2015: Highlights and Previews
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/P6K0siUb5Ts?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Which one are you looking forward to?

posted 9:41:33am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects soci

posted 3:37:53pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of "Above and Beyond"
In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of "Machal" (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the wa

posted 1:26:49pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Women Talk About Making Movies
The New York Times talked to women in Hollywood about making movies. Some of the highlights: “What’s wrong with bossy? It’s O.K. for a man.” Barbra Streisand, Director (“The Prince of Tid

posted 3:55:17pm Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.