Hollywood likes to think that it will fearlessly tackle any topic of cultural relevance. Terrorism? Check. The LGBT experience? Ok. Bullying? Sure. Zookeeping? Obviously. Christianity? Hello? Is this thing on? There are scant recent films from mainstream Hollywood about the American Christian experience that aren't skewering satire. This is surprising: Whether you believe in it or not, here is a cultural and religious force that guides the politics and everyday lives of a major part of our population and there's almost no objective depiction of it in current cinema, unless you count the hapless, nasty nemesis in Easy A or those batshit Kirk Cameron movies. Enter Higher Ground, the directorial debut of Vera Farmiga -- last seen breaking George Clooney's heart in Up in the Air -- that looks at a woman who has lived her entire life as a devoted evangelical Christian, only to experience a crisis of faith that results in great personal and community turmoil. This is the rare film that is about religion, yet doesn't try to convert, incite or lampoon. It boils down what is lately a highly contentious part of the American experience to a simple story about ordinary people and their faith. See Higher Ground as part of the Magnolia at the Modern Series at Fort Worth's Modern Art Museum, 3200 Darnell St., at 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday; 5 p.m. on Saturday; and noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $8.50 or $6.50 for Modern members. Visit themodern.org/magnolia.
Sept. 9-11, 2011