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Review: Higher Ground

Farmiga's directorial debut
By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 6, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars



True to the film's title, Vera Farmiga tries to elevate the bitter dialogue between secularism and fundamentalism to higher ground, regarding both sides with compassion and clarity. Based on Carolyn S. Briggs's memoir This Dark World, Farmiga's directorial debut follows the spiritual progress of Corinne (played as an adult by Farmiga, and as a teen by her sister Taissa) from her pious childhood to her wild times with high school rocker Ethan (Joshua Leonard as the adult, Boyd Holbrook as the teen). She marries Ethan, has his child, and their sex and drugs and rock and roll grind goes on until they survive a drunken crash while on tour, and Ethan sees the light. He joins a sect of hippie holy rollers, and Corinne, as usual, goes along for the ride — for a while. As Robert Duvall did in The Apostle, Farmiga portrays her characters with nuance and dignity and re-creates their world with detail and respect. She doesn't reduce these Born Agains to intolerant and hypocritical stereotypes, but acknowledges them as souls enduring the torments and ecstasies of faith and doubt.

  Topics: Reviews , Boston, childhood, Higher Ground,  More more >
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