Small Screen Reviews
First Reformed Review
What’s It About?
A priest finds his own beliefs thrown into turmoil after being asked to counsel the depressed husband of one of his parishioners.
Who’s In It?
Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise, Training Day, Boyhood)
Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia, Les Miserables, Ted 2)
Other notables include:
Cedric Kyles (Madagascar, Larry Crown, Why Him?)
Director: Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, screenwriter of Mosquito Coast, Raging Bull)
As you would expect from the writer of films like Taxi Driver and Dog Eat Dog, First Reformed is an intricate and thoughtful film, which sees Father Ernst Toller, a priest of a very small Dutch Reformed church, approached by one of his parishioners. This young woman, Mary, who is pregnant, is extremely concerned about her husband, who is distraught and depressed about the state of the world – in particular the thought of bringing a child into a planet that we are destroying.
Mary asks Father Toller to counsel him, which he does, but the experience and the subsequent conversations he has with Michael, lead him to question everything himself.
A heavy drinker, riddled with disease, and now conflicted by his religion and the prospect of a rich oil tycoon financing his church’s 250thcelebrations, Father Toller is a man teetering on the edge.
With a modest budget and no special effects to speak of, First Reformed is a movie that relies utterly on its characters and its performances. In terms of the script, director and writer Paul Schrader has delivered a wonderful story with thoroughly absorbing and believable characters.
He is aided by a wonderfully warm and vulnerable performance by Amanda Seyfriend, but this film is unquestionably Ethan Hawke’s movies, who delivers one of his greatest performances.
In A Nutshell:
Powerful, tense & thought-provoking, with a truly spellbinding performance by Ethan Hawke.
The closing scenes
Release date: 05/11/2018