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

List: YA Books About Coming Out and Same-Sex Relationships
My good friend Sandie is my go-to for YA literature as she is not only very knowledgeable but also very insightful, with superb taste. As a part of her series of books that explore issues of diversity, understanding, and identity, she has put together a list of the best YA books that explore LGBT i

posted 4:41:34pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street
Amazon Prime's new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy but mostly it has friendship. It's a perfect choice for

posted 3:58:21pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM
Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays "As

posted 8:00:36am Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Little Hope Was Arson
In a small East Texas community "with a church on every corner," 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film "Fireproof" one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself

posted 8:40:04pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Docudrama about Handel's Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014
BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Jane Seymo

posted 8:00:38am Nov. 22, 2014 | 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.