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Higher Ground

There is no belief like the belief in yourself.

In the 1970s, everywoman Carolyn Briggs chose to raise her family within the confines of a faith community of self-identified ‘Jesus Freaks’ who blended alternative lifestyles, like vegetarianism and community child rearing, with extreme religious dogma. Then, in 2002, Briggs wrote a groundbreaking memoir, This Dark World, chronicling the rise and fall of her faith during her ordinarily unique life. In her directorial debut, Vera Farmiga vividly plasters Carolyn’s story on the big screen with tenderness, humour and reverence. Far from simply critiquing the right wing ideals of her subjects (some of whom her character, renamed Corinne for the film, clashes with as a proto-feminist), Farmiga transcends the petty religious debate to deal with the richer subject matter of how to really engage in life. Corinne wants nothing more than intimacy and passion in all her interactions, but her best friend doesn’t recover from brain surgery, her husband leaves her sexually and intellectually unsatisfied and her god is a slippery one. Despite being figuratively baptized anew, Corinne cannot find the peace she so craves. Higher Ground is a sad and sweet and intensely funny look at what it means to be a mother, wife and good human being. Everyone struggles in the film, be it with the confusing precepts of The Bible or how to do a husband’s duty (a group of men respond with a chorus of amens when an instructional tape explains that ‘the clitoris is part of God’s plan’). While Corinne’s god is unquestionably a male, Christian deity, Farmiga does not preach. Instead, she embodies Corinne’s struggle with such gentle sympathy that viewers cannot help but to see themselves in the mirror she holds up to the unfulfilled desires littered along the wayside of their own lives.” – Leslie Stonebraker, New York Press Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Vera Farmiga
Running Time: 
Joshua Leonard, Vera Farmiga, Donna Murphy, John Hawkes, Nina Arianda, Dagmara Dominczyk
Screenplay by: 
Carolyn Briggs, Tim Metcalfe

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