Vera Farmiga first broke into Hollywood during the late ’90s, but it probably wasn’t until her acclaimed turn in The Departed that she truly caught the public’s attention. Since then, she’s developed a reputation (well deserved, IMO) as one of the strongest actresses working today.

And soon, we might be praising her work behind the camera as well. Farmiga is making her directorial debut with Higher Ground, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Based on a memoir by Carolyn Briggs, Higher Ground stars Farmiga as a woman struggling with her faith over the decades. Watch the trailer after the jump.

[Apple]

I haven’t seen Higher Ground yet, but the early reviews I’ve read have been mostly, if not overwhelmingly, positive. Most of the praise seems to be directed at Farmiga’s acting and the film’s sense of humor. Our own Germain Lussier, who caught the film at Sundance, called it “subtle, but funny and rewarding.”

We don’t get a whole lot of the comedy in the trailer, which makes the film seem like a fairly straightforward drama about a woman’s spiritual battles. But Farmiga’s performance already looks strong — just check out that scene of her pleading with God in her car. (Plus, John Hawkes is in it! Love that guy.) I’d be curious about Farmiga’s first directorial effort even if the trailer weren’t that hot, simply because I like her, but the fact that it actually looks good has me really looking forward to it.

Higher Ground will open in the U.S. August 26, 2011.

Synopsis:

Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, HIGHER GROUND, is a coming-of-age drama in which Farmiga delivers a subtle, nuanced performance completely from the gut, with equally strong and compelling supporting characters. Set against the backdrop of the Sixties, when feminism reached its zenith, the film expertly depicts the landscape of a tight-knit spiritual community. Inspired by the resonant memoir from Carolyn Briggs (who also wrote the screenplay) the film is an exquisite study of one woman’s internal struggle with the primary love relationships in her life. John Hawkes, Donna Murphy, Bill Irwin, Dagmara Dominczyk, and Joshua Leonard round out the cast, along with Farmiga’s younger sister Taissa, who proves herself to be an extraordinary new talent as Young Corinne.

Discuss: Will you see Higher Ground?

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