First Reformed stars Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Before Sunrise) as Ernst Toller, a priest at a small ‘tourist’ church in Upstate New York who is struggling with alcoholism, solitude and his troubled past. When he meets Mary (Amanda Seyfried), a pregnant woman seeking support for her radical environmentalist husband, Toller finds his entire understanding of the world challenged. As he grapples with his beliefs and the growing torment inside of him, Toller decides to seek redemption.
Written and directed by the veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), First Reformed is a gripping exploration of the role of religion and morality in the modern world, presented in his characteristically dark style. Through Hawke’s outstanding performance, and enhanced by Amanda Seyfried and Cedric Kyles in their brilliant supporting roles, the film very effectively sucks us into its universe, leading us to experience Toller’s unravelling with him at every step.
A fascinating and relevant film, First Reformed makes for bleak but rewarding viewing.
Screenings of this film:
|2018/2019 Autumn Term – (digital)|