Watch First Reformed
- 1 hr 48 min
First Reformed is a thought-provoking and intense psychological thriller from 2017, directed and written by Paul Schrader, known for writing classics such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. The movie stars Ethan Hawke as Reverend Ernst Toller, a priest struggling with his faith after the loss of his son and the collapse of his marriage. Amanda Seyfried plays a pregnant woman named Mary, who asks Toller for counseling as her husband is an environmental activist and wants her to have an abortion to prevent the child from growing up in a doomed world. Cedric the Entertainer appears as the head of the megachurch, which owns First Reformed, an old Dutch Reformed Church in upstate New York that Toller leads.
Set against the backdrop of climate change, political polarization, and religious extremism, First Reformed is a bold and uncompromising exploration of faith, doubt, and despair. Toller is a complex and conflicted character, whose physical and mental state deteriorates as he confronts the hypocrisy and corruption of his own church, as well as the tragedies and injustices of the world around him. He starts keeping a diary, which he addresses to God, and which reveals his innermost thoughts and fears, as well as his growing obsession with Mary and her concerns.
As Toller's relationship with Mary deepens, he becomes more disillusioned with his own beliefs, and begins to question the purpose and value of his life. He starts drinking again, and becomes increasingly erratic and unstable, leading him to consider radical and controversial actions to express his outrage and protest against the evils of humanity. The film takes on a surreal and apocalyptic tone, as Toller descends into madness and despair, and the lines between reality and hallucination become blurred.
The movie is visually striking, with a subdued color palette and a symbolic use of light and darkness, which reflects Toller's spiritual journey and his struggle to find meaning and redemption in a world that seems to have lost its sense of morality and hope. The cinematography, by Alexander Dynan, is intimate and expressive, capturing the intensity and intimacy of the characters' interactions, as well as the bleakness and isolation of their surroundings.
Overall, First Reformed is a gripping and challenging movie that tackles some of the most pressing and controversial issues of our time, such as faith, ecology, politics, and human nature, with intelligence, honesty, and courage. The performances are excellent, especially Hawke's, who gives a raw and nuanced portrayal of a man on the brink of a spiritual and mental breakdown. The soundtrack, by Ludwig GÃ¶ransson, is haunting and eerie, adding to the unsettling and unnerving atmosphere of the film. This movie is definitely not for everyone, as it deals with some heavy and disturbing themes, but for those who appreciate a thought-provoking and daring piece of cinema, it is highly recommended.
First Reformed is a 2018 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 86.