Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Film Week

A review of the movies I've seen this past week.

HIGHER GROUND (2011)
A quiet but powerful movie starring Vera Farmiga (who also directed). She plays an evangelical Christian whom we see at three different points in her life: her young acceptance of Christianity, her decision to become born again at the age of 20, and her feelings of discomfort with a conformity she feels creeping in when she's about 40. It's one of the most interesting examinations of faith I've ever seen in a movie, especially a movie from the internet age, where everyone's religious beliefs seem to be a matter of intense polarization. It never shows her fellow evangelicals as simple cartoons or heavy-handed stereotypes. Instead, the film shows faith as a series of choices each person makes, and in this particular case a woman who is aware, intelligent, and who begins to wonder if the evangelical community has a place in her life as she grows and changes and begins to chafe under a worldview that she now sees as too narrow. There's a great moment when she defines her restlessness as an inability to reconcile the moments of joy and comfort in faith with the very human need to feel a physical closeness to it; something she can touch and hold and grab onto. The film never judges her or anyone else for their decisions, but shows us the human beings who make them. It's a warm and smart character study. ****

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