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Higher Ground (2011)

by Josef Hodgkins June 8th, 2012 | Drama, In-Theater Reviews
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Just briefly I say: don’t waste your time with this movie.  Overall it was dull, radically preachy, and boring.  If you want the gist of the movie I will write it starting in the next paragraph.

The introduction was compelling, exciting and beautiful.  When you start watching it you will get the sense that Vera Farmiga did it right in this acting/directing role.  The soundtrack is interesting.  The music is mostly folk, but it slowly becomes church music.  The transition of folk music with lyrics and solely instrumental folk into worship songs was consistent and by the end I felt like I’d just been in church for two hours.

This film can appeal to one of two cohorts.  I think “Jesus Freaks,” as they are referred to in the film, may find comfort in many of the scenes.  No specific denomination would benefit more than another as long as Jesus is at the center of your faith.  The other group that I believe would be interested in this film are those who are trying to learn about Jesus and religion, and the conservative way of life.

This movie came down to one major point for me.  The main character, played by Vera, lives in a restrained world.  She suffers from external repression as well as self-repression.  The movie is predominantly filmed in and around a small town church.  Through the congregation’s oppression of women, Vera’s character comes to find out she’s living in an abusive life.  The abuse toward this woman in several scenes is hidden behind the idea of “His will, not ours.” This was often emphasized in the movie and accepted as how the world works.  This main point is not what you will find in the trailer.

If anything in my review appeals to you, then rent it.  You may not be disappointed.  Even as someone who didn’t enjoy the entire movie, there were three or four scenes where I found myself either somewhat, or even deeply, affected.  Keep in mind, that’s only three or four scenes.  This is certainly not a movie you will put on your favorites list, nor will you recommend it to others.  I don’t know how many movies Vera Farmiga has directed, but through this movie you will notice there is some effort and she wasn’t just looking for a quick paycheck.  In other words, I think she can build on this directorial experience.

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