Sunday, September 25, 2011

higher ground

Opened Sep 23. Sounds intriguing.

International Village
through Thu Oct 6 2:10, 4:55, 7:45, 10:30
by Rick Groen
excerpted from Globe & Mail, Sep 23 2011

In the media and pop culture, the typical portrayal of Christian fundamentalists tends to err at the extremes, treating them and their beliefs with either an excess of reverence or too much mockery. Higher Ground is refreshing precisely because it finds a middle ground – in this spiritual community, there are no saints and there are no demons, no absolute wisdom and no complete idiocy. Of course, in such a vacuum, drama is harder to generate, and the film’s quiet realism demands from us our own act of faith: We’re asked to watch closely and to listen intently in the promise of a greater reward to come. ...

Essentially, it’s the story of a woman whose life is changed by two embraced discoveries. First, she acquires religion and then, painfully, she gains something that speaks to her far more profoundly – doubt. The script doesn’t quote Tennyson, but his famous dictum – “There lives more faith in honest doubt/ Believe me, than in half the creeds” – lies at the conflicted heart of the tale. That’s the faith Corinne, an evolving skeptic among true believers, labours toward.

. . . Corinne visits a Christian therapist, a guy who in less sensitive hands would just be a lampooned figure of fun. Instead, here, his dead-on diagnosis simultaneously reflects the strength and the weakness of his beliefs. He says to her: “You are worshipping at the altar of yourself.” Of course she is, but that’s exactly the point. Corinne has ascended to that higher ground where the bigger questions are asked. And none is bigger than this: Is religion a denial of her true self, or an antidote to the curse of narcissism? Her trial continues.

No comments: