Higher Ground

March 1st, 2012


Higher Ground

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Still of Vera Farmiga in Higher GroundStill of Taissa Farmiga in Higher GroundVera Farmiga at event of Higher GroundStill of Vera Farmiga and John Hawkes in Higher GroundStill of John Hawkes in Higher GroundStill of Bill Irwin in Higher Ground

A chronicle of one woman's lifelong struggle with her faith.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 6.1/10 (946 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Vera Farmiga

Stars: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk

Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, HIGHER GROUND, depicts the landscape of a tight-knit spiritual community thrown off-kilter when one of their own begins to question her faith. Inspired by screenwriter Carolyn S. Briggs' memoir This Dark World, the film tells the story of a thoughtful woman's struggles with belief, love, and trust - in human relationships as well as in God.

Writers: Carolyn S. Briggs, Tim Metcalfe

Joshua Leonard - Ethan Miller
Norbert Leo Butz - Pastor Bill
Michael Chernus - Ned
Vera Farmiga - Corinne Walker
McKenzie Turner - Young Corrine Walker
Donna Murphy - Kathleen Walker
John Hawkes - CW Walker
Matthew Dubas - Salesman
Taylor Schwencke - Young Wendy Walker
Jillian Lindig - Mrs. Tittle
Bill Irwin - Pastor Bud
Alden Rosakranse - Tim
Taissa Farmiga - Teenage Corinne Walker
James Noon - Kirk
Kaitlyn Rae King - Teenage Wendy Walker


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 1 March 2012

Filming Locations: Kingston, New York, USA

Opening Weekend: $21,495 (USA) (28 August 2011) (3 Screens)

Gross: $841,206 (USA) (1 January 2012)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:

Revealing mistakes: At the therapist's office, the wall clock is clearly not working as the second hand is not moving.

User Review

Gentle and Deserved Critique of the Church.

Rating: 10/10

Higher Ground is a beautiful and stirring tale based on a personal memoir about a woman who, after growing up in a Christian church, starts asking questions about what she's been taught. She delicately steps around the admonition not to preach to men, quietly disobeys the order against exploring her spirituality, and finally, at a turning point, learns that it is OK to be sad and angry at God, that she does not have to sing "It Is Well With My Soul" when it honestly isn't.

Though the film's critique of the church is firm and sharp in many places, its observations are fair, loving, and certainly earned. Besides being a thoroughly enjoyable film to watch, Higher Ground is an excellent starting point for dialog. Those who are other than Christian, even perhaps those who dislike Christians, may be able to put voice to their concerns in a new way, and can maybe be led to see that most Christians are honestly just trying to be the best they can be. Christians can take the critique as a mirror to hold up to their own congregations, looking for areas where perhaps they are inadvertently hurting others or themselves. To those inside the church, I would suggest that this film is a God-given opportunity to examine yourselves, to open your eyes enough to realize that the church is not infallible, and perhaps take the prompting to apologize for areas in which you and the church have failed to represent Christ accurately.

Religious or not, whether you seek dialog or just pure entertainment, Higher Ground is an excellent choice. It is worth every minute, a fun way of looking at a serious topic, and it will always stand out in my mind as an exceptional piece of art.


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