Review: “Higher Ground” (2011)

A film by Vera Farmiga

Vera Farmiga directs and stars in this movie about a women’s journey of faith.  The film is based on Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir, This Dark World. She breaks the movie up into chapters, such as “Summons” and “Waiting for Dawn” that deal with different parts in her journey.  Corinne grows up with a sister and parents that are in love but break up when they lose their third child.  Corinne goes to church as a young girl and tries to make sense of religion and how she fits into the picture.

The film goes on and shows Corinne as a teenager finding love with a boy in a band called the Renegades.  They marry at a young age after she becomes pregnant.  The band travels and on one particular trip Corinne brings their young child along and they are in an accident.  They crash into a lake and frantically search for their toddler that they had placed in a cooler.  They find her and are convinced that God saved her.  They join a fundamentalist sect and raise their family in the group.  They have two more children.  The group is very traditional and Corinne goes along with it until she starts to realize that maybe it’s not for her.  The group is very strict about women doing any teaching.  She tries to share what she has learned from the bible to the group and gets chastised for preaching.  She also gets called out for wearing a dress (a maternity dress no less) that garners too much attention.

I think we can all relate to this film because religion or spirituality is in most of our lives in some shape or form.  It can be a struggle to make your way and try and figure out what you would like to believe.  I thought that Corinne was very brave to leave the group when she no longer believed what they did.  It was all she had known and took courage to walk away from her family and friends.  Farmiga did a great job with the flow of the movie and kept it moving along nicely.  This film was a great start for Farmiga as director.

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Lotus Wollschlager is the official Her Film movie reviewer.  Find her bio on the Her Film Reviews page.

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DVD Releases

Looking for some flicks to watch, especially over the holidays?  Me, too!  I’ve amassed a list below of several new and upcoming DVD releases.  Did you miss a lot of these on the festival circuit or in the theatre like I did?  Included in the list are also some foreign films (like Happy, Happy, from Norway) and documentaries (like Bag It and The Other F Word, looking forward to seeing this one) as well as some TV films (like Toast).  These are all films either directed by a woman or featuring female protagonists (or written/co-written by a woman), so get your movie on this holiday season by supporting these new films!

DVDs out now:

THE TEMPEST (directed by Julie Taymor, starring Helen Mirren)

TANNER HALL (directed by Tatiana von Furstenburg and Francesca Gregorini, starring Rooney Mara)

January 2012:

HIGHER GROUND (directed by Vera Farmiga)

TOAST (directed by SJ Clarkson)

DIRTY GIRL (directed by Abe Sylvia, starring Juno Temple and Milla Jovovich)

ROMEOS (directed by Sabine Bernardi)

ANOTHER HAPPY DAY (directed by Sam Levinson, starring Ellen Barkin (who also produces), Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Burstyn)

HAPPY, HAPPY (directed by Anne Sewitsky, written by Ragnhild Tronvoll, starring Agnes Kittelsen)

THE OTHER F WORD (directed by Andrea Blaugrund) Currently playing & opening in cities across the U.S.

SPORK (directed by J.B. Ghuman Jr., starring Savannah Stein)

CHALET GIRL (directed by Phil Traill, starring Felicity Jones and Brooke Shields)

ELEVATE (directed by Anne Buford)

February:

SEDUCING CHARLIE BARKER (directed by Amy Glazer, starring Daphne Zuniga and Heather Gordon)

TINY FURNITURE (directed by and starring Lena Dunham)

BUTTERFLY CRUSH (directed by Alan Clay, starring Hayley Fielding and Courtney Hale)

HEART OF NOW (directed by Zak Forsman, starring Marion Kerr)

HONEY 2 (directed by Bille Woodruff, co-written by Alyson Fouse, starring Katerina Graham)

THE SPACE BETWEEN (directed by Travis Fine, starring Melissa Leo and AnnaSophia Robb)

MIGHTY MACS (directed by Tim Chambers, starring Carla Gugino and Ellen Burstyn)

INSIGHT (directed by Richard Gabai, starring Natalie Zea)

 

March:

BAG IT (directed by Suzan Beraza, written by Michelle Curry Wright)

FRESH (directed by Ana Sofia Joanes)