Monday, February 6, 2012

Higher Ground

2011, 2 hours, Vera Varmiga (dir)

This is a lucid film about the life of an American family steeped in the Christian faith. The family is embedded in a community which mutually sustains and encourages the belief system. The beliefs they hold seem to make their lives more meaningful, bearable and satisfying by being moored in something. On the other hand they invite obvious ridicule and revulsion from another section of the community as "predatory religious nuts". Another viewpoint sees the life of faith as here portrayed as being sterile and bereft of aesthetic and human dimensions. The whole portrait is of a lukewarm and fossilized approach, which can only be sustained by huge contortions of logic, with the mere fruit of a nice feeling. Corrine, the heroine, is torn between different viewpoints, whereas her chance acquaintance Liam represents the viewpoint of a sensitive secular person who has no powerful compulsions to belief. A vivid picture of Christianity in the modern world in quarters where it is taken seriously. At least it manages to express a human being's inherent spiritual and philosophical needs. It is a fair multi-dimensional and ambivalent portrait, swinging between satire and admiration, with faith scoring the last word as a primary human need.

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