Obviously, First Reformed is saturated in spiritual content, from its title, to its setting, to its characters. Coming Soon. Whether one knows they know his work or not, most who pay attention in some capacity to the film world are usually influenced by or at least familiar with the work of writer/director Paul Schrader. Neither is what Schrader’s after. The percentage of users who rated this 3.5 stars or higher. In a long, striking scene early in the film, one that reminds us of Schrader’s skills as a writer, the young man and Toller discuss the ways humanity is rapidly despoiling the earth and the planet’s bleak future prospects. Revelation (4 out of 4 stars) 2. First Reformed is a film about losing your religion, and more than being a damning indictment of America under late capitalism, it wrestles with the despair that many of us feel right now with regards to political and social turmoil. First Reformed review: "A volatile mix of gravitas and grindhouse" Paul Schrader’s best for 20 years. Ethan Hawke interviewed by Simon Mayo — Kermode and Mayo's Film Review, with Ethan Hawke This clip is related to First Reformed Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist reviewed by Mark Kermode Perhaps because of his own past trauma and growing alcoholism, Toller … and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango. While Bresson may be an influence bandied about here, First Reformed also strongly channels the starkness of Bergman. A fine actor from the beginning, Hawke has been growing exponentially in recent years, and this is his most expertly, movingly crafted performance yet. After his heyday in the 70s and 80s, it’s been a few decades since he’s received widespread praise (see: 1997’s Affliction). Movies: First Reformed; New England. Forgot your password? First Reformed was screened at the 74th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2017, and was released in the United States on May 18, 2018, by A24. Leave it to Paul Schrader to make a movie that examines broken faith and then attempts to make sense of the destruction. FIRST REFORMED follows a troubled priest named Father Toller (Ethan Hawke) as he tries to help young couple Mary (Amanda Seyfried) and Michael (Philip Ettinger) and is drawn into a tragic series of events. As Toller is in a spiral, as he is literally and metaphorically dying on the inside, he comes to a path that many a Christians seem to find a paradoxical peace in: their own sacrifices. The image is an example of a ticket confirmation email that AMC sent you when you purchased your ticket. Don't have an account? In a broad sense, First Reformed is like if the protagonist of Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest were put into the scenario of Ingmar Bergman’s … Schrader is the divine mortal who wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. for some disturbing violent images. Your AMC Ticket Confirmation# can be found in your order confirmation email. The title of First Reformed, Paul Schrader’s best film in a very long time, refers to an old abolitionist church in upstate New York, a metaphor for Christianity’s neglected values.The First Reformed has no congregation to speak of, only visitors and tourists, and its care has fallen into the hands of a lost soul, the gentle, hollow-cheeked Rev. From one angle, “First Reformed” is an unreformed film critic’s tour through a strain or tradition of art-filmmaking that molded him, as well as a tribute to masters including Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Carl Dreyer and, of course, Bresson. Track Listing: 1. A stunning study of one man’s flaws and an apocalyptic vision of mankind’s fate. First Reformed plays out partly as melodrama, partly as a grinding exploitation genre film.When blood is spilled it’s delivered in buckets, when surrealism kicks in it’s both balletic and bizarre. It also has some harsh things to say about the prosperity Gospel-based evangelicalism of … But it is not a rejection of the former, any more than the latter. | Rating: 8/10 His ecclesiastical superior, the buoyant pastor of a local megachurch (a fine performance by Cedric the Entertainer), tries to coax him out of his gloom and enlist his help in planning for the celebration of his church’s 250th anniversary. Please click the link below to receive your verification email. First Reformed is a bleak, punishing movie and the furthest thing imaginable from an easy crowdpleaser. All the performances, from large to small, are believably first-rate. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so why am I excused from such an act? The son was killed, Toller’s marriage collapsed and he was left devastated. It is no exaggeration to say that he has given Schrader a suffering priest equal to those of Bresson and Bergman. A work that most 30 year old's would welcome, and one that a 71 year old might have thought would never come around again. A character study that draws deeply from writer/director Paul Schrader's personal experience, "First Reformed" is an updated, Americanized blending of Bresson's "Diary of a Country Priest" and Bergman's "Winter Light." Get the freshest reviews, news, and more delivered right to your inbox! It is solid, well-done and entertaining. Review by Jonathan Rosenbaum. First Reformed is a bleak, punishing movie and the furthest thing imaginable from an easy crowdpleaser. |, December 6, 2020 Disturbing images in intense, mature character study. The film challenges present-day evangelicals to become environmentalists, two sides of the political spectrum that often clash but should really be on the same team. Just leave us a message here and we will work on getting you verified. In First Reformed, we see this in a scene of a levitation. Slow and calm drama in 4:3 aspect ratio (which fits the mood perfectly) and almost entirely static camera work, relying mostly on its writing and the great acting. Spiritual Elements. Discernment (4 out of 4 stars) 4. |. Just confirm how you got your ticket. Sign up here. From the first, style as a way of engendering spiritual consciousness has been his primary concern. Also, director Paul Schrader does an impressive job at creating an intense and atmospheric tone. His assignment at this church—which seems to do more business in tourist trinkets than souls—is equal parts penance and abnegation. Coming Soon, Regal In a welcome new edition of Transcendental Style, he writes of creating “an alternate film reality—a transcendent one,” in which, “The filmmaker, rather than creating a world in which the viewer need only surrender … creates a world in which the spectator must contemplate—or reject out of hand.”. First Reformed depicts a religious culture, like the biosphere, in crisis, perhaps sickness unto death. First Reformed is poised to celebrate its 250th birthday. Schrader’s work stands out in this group, however, as the only one to take place in the present day. We want to hear what you have to say but need to verify your account. | Rating: B I don’t think her name (or her pregnancy) is an accident. Later, in discovering Bresson’s “Pickpocket,” he was electrified because “I sensed a bridge between the spirituality I was raised with and the ‘profane’ cinema I loved. The film is a cry of rage against the polluters and corrupters who, Schrader contends, are destroying the planet, as well as against the commercialisation of the churches and the growth of terrorism. What this less imposing set of expectations doesn't change though, is that of the DNA of Christianity and how these inherent leanings impose themselves on the psychology of those that are the truest of believers: the ones that feel the most conflict over the many contradictory if not often well-intentioned teachings of the faith. The pacing could have been tighter, but the slow-burn vibe, the darkening tone, Hawke's mesmerizing deterioration, and the shocking finale are quite absorbing. The camera tracks slowly forward as it gazes up at the stark white facade of an 18th century church in New York State. Unless I miss my guess, “First Reformed” will find its least receptive audiences among those who want either a conventional psychological drama or a dogmatic exposition of spiritual themes. | Rating: 4/5 Despair, hope, faith, isolation, and social decay are all explored to their fullest depths in a manner that is perfect for audiences in 2018. In the end it has you by the collar and doesn't stop shaking. First Reformed, the movie, shares Michael’s environmental concerns (if not his despair). |, August 29, 2020 To suffer means to earn salvation is what then becomes the mentality once becoming so engrossed in the religion, but as Toller at one point poses, "Who can know the mind of God?" Brought up in the Christian Reformed Church, a strict Calvinist denomination, Schrader was raised without movies but became enchanted with their forbidden pleasures when he encountered them. | Fresh (223) Does the activist plan to protest humanity’s destruction by staging his own? That effort begins to stick in Toller’s craw, though, when he realizes the extent to which it will be run by a bullying local rightwing polluter for whom he feels the deepest contempt. Rated R drama, Killer Films, While the pastor urges that there are still plenty of reasons for hope, it seems he may have been influenced by Michael’s words as much as the other way around. Verified reviews are considered more trustworthy by fellow moviegoers. Read Common Sense Media's First Reformed review, age rating, and parents guide. | Rating: 3.5/4 First Reformed poses a lot of weighty questions and it is an extremely timely film in terms of its messages and themes. In line with other Schrader movies, but perhaps more so than any, it defines itself against many of the central assumptions and conventions of most mainstream moviemaking. The film was acclaimed by critics, who gave specific praise to Hawke's performance and Schrader's screenplay and direction. Even when "First Reformed" veers off into the abyss, Hawke's presence lends it a certain steadying influence. First Reformed is a film from American screenwriter, film director and movie critic, Paul Schrader. Awakening (4 out of 4 stars) 6. | Rating: 3.5/4 Block or Report. With his angular frame and ankle-length black cassock, the church’s pastor has a similar iconic starkness. The climactic scene takes place during the church’s much-ballyhooed re-consecration service, commemorating 350 years of preaching, teaching and serving. Yet while it has its issues, First Reform is an incredibly provocative and challenging film. Full Review Almost every single angle is framed with precision and intent. But Hawke juices it with an austere sense of grace. There are no approved quotes yet for this movie. The camera encroaches upon a looming, starkly white Dutch Reform Church in upstate New York. Being the sometimes cocky, but mostly guilt-ridden Catholic that I am I wrongfully assumed that First Reformed was about a Catholic priest coming to terms with the quarrels his mind could no longer ignore and facing this crisis of faith with what the movie could only determine to surprise us with, but in fact First Reformed does not care to follow such a repeated quandary, but is instead the tale of a man who was beaten down by life long before he decided to make the church his one and only true love as Ethan Hawke portrays Reverend Toller, a man who found something of a lucky break in being appointed the priest for a small congregation in upstate New York whose building is now more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship. Copyright © Fandango. |, August 30, 2020 |, August 28, 2018 And it was a bridge of STYLE not content.”, That last point is crucial. Father Ernst Toller (Hawke) is a pastor of a small Dutch Reformed church. The pastor of a small church in upstate New York spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife. You're almost there! First Reformed is a near perfect offering from cinematic master Paul Schrader, and another notch on the belt for the impressive studio A24. But Hawke juices it with an austere sense of grace. | Top Critics (64) he at another derives what is necessary to please God in his own and from this perspective, twisted way, thus painting the broad themes of contradiction and discountedness that inform First Reformed. They are weird moments of almost hypnotic transcendence, but at the center of it is that tortured God's lonely man character perfectly embodied by Ethan Hawke. | Rating: 4.5/5 The convergence of spirituality and cinema would occur in style not content. A stunning study of one man’s flaws and an apocalyptic vision of mankind’s fate. For those who do, the film’s peculiar mysteries and beauties will be evident throughout: in its restrained compositions and uses of silence and empty space, in the almost liturgical unfolding of its narrative, in a climactic scene of imaginary flight and a final scene that seems aptly designed to leave one catching one’s breath, caught in the very act of contemplating this tale of faith and its worldly opponents. Directed by Paul Schrader. |, July 19, 2018 |, August 27, 2018 The congregation that faces him from the church’s spartan pews is minuscule. Coming Soon. — First Reformed is a serious and sobering film about the challenges facing contemporary religion and the spiritual riches which abound to those who remain open to grace and the mystery of God. FIRST REFORMED-- 4 STARS Celebrated writer-director Paul Schrader ( Taxi Driver, American Gigolo ) has long been a veteran storyteller on the motif of self-destruction. The tension builds up slowly, without reading about the premise you wonder for a while where the film might actually take you. Fibonacci Films, |, July 24, 2020 Godfrey Cheshire is a film critic, journalist and filmmaker based in New York City. Often embodied by a protagonist pursuing actions opposite his or her own values, Schrader’s pensive paths tend to end with purifying violence or excruciating sacrifice. All Critics (239) Ernst Toller (Hawke) is a troubled man. However, the film becomes a little propaganda-ish and takes a pretty hard turn toward extremism without much explanation as to why the minister suddenly takes up this cause to the exclusion of all others or how he's able to reconcile his violent intentions with his faith. There are several themes and ideas coming together here, but for me what stands out is the big bitch slap for Christian conservatives in the US backing the wrong orange faced horses these days. mystery and thriller, First Reformed review: "A volatile mix of gravitas and grindhouse" Paul Schrader’s best for 20 years. You’ve probably never heard of him but he’s the guy who wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Affliction.A longtime Martin Scorsese and Nicolas Cage collaborator, Schrader has had a full film career of many shades slowing down at the turn of the millennium. Critics Pick Film Review: ‘First Reformed’ Paul Schrader pours all his obsessions, from Robert Bresson to pulp violence, into a grindhouse art film you can't stop watching. His favorite film in this regard is Diary of a Country Priest. | Rating: 6/10 and the Terms and Policies, First Reformed is a near perfect offering from cinematic master Paul Schrader, and another notch on the belt for the impressive studio A24. Paul Schrader ’s “First Reformed,” in which Ethan Hawke brilliantly plays an alcoholic Protestant minister undergoing a profound spiritual and psychological crisis, is a stunning, enrapturing film, a crowning work by one of the American cinema’s most essential artists. Toller is a man who sees himself as something of a courier for Christ despite constantly questioning his worthiness of such a status.