Higher Ground Review, Trailer and Showtimes


The experience of sitting through Vera Farmiga‘s (Source Code, Up In The Air) directorial debut was akin to sitting on a splintered pew through a terrifying four-hour sermon whilst not having a religious bone in your body.

This bland melodrama of one woman’s life-long struggle with faith quickly establishes itself as an uneven and dragged-out affair.  Uneven in the sense that Farmiga can’t seem to make up her mind on whether to go the dark and unfunny comedy route or the shallow-character driven soap opera one.  Dragged-out in the sense that for the last half-hour or so, more of my focus was on wondering when and how this film would end.  Never a good sign.

Initially, the idea of watching a character study film of one woman’s rise into womanhood amongst cultish prayer meetings and a oppressive Catholic church would sound intriguing.  That is what frustrates me the most; knowing that this film’s premise is simple and that the story could have been told in an entertaining way had the direction been a little more focused.

Farmiga‘s film isn’t a total failure though.  With the help of a great wardrobe department and the acute attention towards getting all the details right, she was able to at least authenticate the look of the 1970s and 80s.

So, the atmosphere was there, heck, even the acting was good, but when those elements are complemented with a lackluster script, messy editing, and a nauseating soundtrack, what I’m ultimately left with is a bad taste in my mouth for not only organized religion, but anything associated with the filmmakers responsible for this unholy abomination of cinematic storytelling.  Can I get a witness?

Higher Ground opens in San Francisco at Landmark’s Embarcadero on Friday, September 2nd


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