By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Corrine (Vera Farmiga) grows up in a fundamentalist Christian church
and accepts salvation at an early age. She’s a good girl and loves to write.
She attracts the attention of a student
musician Ethan (Joshua Leonard), who asks her to write songs with him.
Corrine gets pregnant and she and Ethan marry. Their life is difficult
for a long time as they work for enough money to survive with now two
daughters. Their faith and church, or home church community, supports them.
Corrine is baptized and shares the joy of her faith
with her best friend , the earthy and uninhibited Anika (Dagmara Dominczyk). Anika goes
where the shy and modest Corrine has never thought of treading, from talking
about sex to speaking in tongues.
Corrine is very attracted to speaking in tongues, but cannot quite make
it happen. She’s actually experiencing a
call to move beyond the mere following of rules, conventions and the mores of
her faith community, to the next step in communing with God.
As she searches for meaning, the framework that held
her up falls apart for her. It can no longer satisfy the yearning in her heart
for something more than sitting like a lady and making sure her clothing will
not tempt men.
Anika’s illness expands
Corrine’s inner journey, and represents in her body what may happen to
Corrine’s soul if she does not follow the call of grace.
Corrine begins to question everything, and this
leads to some difficult choices. The film treats fundamentalist Christians with
a gentle touch for the most part. Thus, we are able to focus on the path that
Corrine walks, seeing the world and God as she does.
“Higher Ground” is based on the book This Dark World : A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S.
Briggs, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The book was released shortly before
the film opened.
I think “Higher Ground”, nominated for the
grand Jury prize at Sundance this year, may be on the runway to the Oscars.
Farmiga’s directorial debut is as impressive as her acting that seems so
Anyone who has felt the inner
movement of grace to take the next best step in the spiritual life will
recognize Corrine’s dilemma and journey of discernment. As a Catholic,
Christian I felt the absence of the sacraments for Corrine, and wondered where
her journey might lead. The thing is, Corrine knows that God is faithful and
that indeed “all is grace.”
Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.
blog comments powered by