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First Reformed


“Will God forgive us for what we're doing to his creation?”

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Ethan Hawke stars as Ernst Toller, a reverend in a remote upstate New York community where his stoic, minimalist sermons are mostly looked over for the nearby mega-church. Toller's quiet life is changed when he begins to counsel new parishioners Michael and Mary (Phillip Ettinger and Amanda Seyfried), a young couple whose marriage is breaking down. Michael, a radical environmental activist, is consumed by the idea that humans have brought on an apocalypse and when he asks questions that can't be answered, Toller's own path is irrevocably changed.

Why See This Film

Legendary filmmaker Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) is in peak form with First Reformed, a film that takes the viewer on an unexpected journey as it unfolds to strange, beautiful, angry and questioning places. This was the first film in what could be called the late style Schrader: returning to familiar territory with his lonely Man In a Room archetype, updated for 21st century crises of faith in humanity and fully embracing the chilly aesthetic potential of digital filmmaking. Hawke is in particularly fine form as the troubled Bressonian priest, perfectly balanced by the warmly accessible humanity of Seyfried to deliver a troubling modern parable that ultimately ascends to a sublime moment of grace.

Paul Schrader
Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer
113 minutes

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