Here's a trailer for the Sundance drama Higher Ground, the directorial debut of actress Vera Farmiga, who also stars in the film. This well-received movie could mean big things for Farmiga, who's been teetering on the brink for a while.
Yes this is a small indie about thorny religious issues, but if Farmiga acquits herself well enough, as a director but mostly as an actress, it could mean she graduates to the big leagues. Rachel Weisz big leagues at least, maybe not Reese Witherspoon big leagues. Is Farmiga, as a pull quote shown in the trailer suggests, "this generation's Meryl Streep?" I don't know if I'd go that far, but there is something in Farmiga that's alluringly wise and warm but also intriguingly aloof, just like La Streep. And if you've seen Farmiga in Anthony Minghella's underrated Breaking & Entering, you know she can pull off an accent too.
As for the movie, it's one of several at this year's Sundance festival (Salvation Boulevard, The Ledge, Martha Marcy May Marlene) that confronted some degree of religious extremism, though this one seems to be a lot gentler than those darker films. I suppose any effort to humanize people who believe some pretty crazy things is probably worth it in a socially egalitarian sense, though usually the end product winds up being frustratingly and a bit impotently ambivalent, recognizing the ills and the goods and saying, eh, live and let live I guess. (See: Book of Mormon, The.) Who knows where this one will end up, but I'm definitely intrigued to find out.