Based on Carolyn Briggs’ 2002 nonfictional book, “This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost”.
This is a story of religious indoctrination so intransigent so indivisible that individuality is squelched in the name of God.
Vera Farmiga (also directs) is the adult “Corinne” who as a teenage ( Taissa Farmiga) wife and mother suffers a religious epiphany when she and her family survive a car accident; the seeds were sown in infancy by a Christian Fundamentalist pastor; his irrational ravings, warnings to open their hearts, listen for the “knocking” of the Lord, allow Him permanent residency, all else in life inconsequential, secondary. Who could withstand this onslaught of pedagogical spewing, especially in one’s formative years?
This well-acted, tormenting movie encapsulates, defines the indubitable precepts of Christian Fundamentalism; extremism and myopia exhibited and shared by conservative strains in many religions. This terrifying trend begs for a path of moderation; allowing the intellect to expand, extrapolate and develop one’s friendship, relationship with a superior Being; trust the God-given gift of free will, choice.
“Higher Ground” is a study of radical proselytism; somewhere in the Midwest, 1970-1980’s; lives lived in a religious vacuum; every meal, thought expressed, book read, revolves around Jesus and the Bible. Women, dressed like Quakers, sexuality expunged, creativity condemned. We know nothing about these people outside their church and family prayer meetings; the one talented, free-spirited creature is mentally felled, punished for thinking “outside the box”. Good people stunted by droning, didactic, pastoral diatribes.
Corinne after years of waiting, pleading for the “Presence”, experiences fissures in the foundation of her marriage and life; smothering, she grasps the threads of wisdom, the seeds of knowledge hibernating, wrestling to breathe, fighting the placidness and platitudes of her murky, dull existence; she stabs and ruptures her religious cocoon, steps forth and wishfully, thrives.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!