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First Reformed
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First Reformed

A24
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Comments (73)

Anonymous picture
cathleen

Horrible film. No character development. No protagonist. No one to care about at all. Even the pastor, for all his righteousness and vanity and determination to transcend ended up doing nothing. Just falling for perhaps the dullest female character ever written into a film. Literally oh ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Julia

Thought provoking here and now themes addressed extremely well

Mark avatar
Mark

A stunning and deeply layered film whose exaggerated metaphors are surprising and right on target. Ethan Hawke is marvelous and deeply convincing. A wonderfully complex and anti-hollywood film, in the best sense.
Mark Irwin, University of Southern California

Lynn avatar
Lynn

boring

Anonymous picture
James

I respect a movie that makes its aesthetic and thematic intentions clear and then just goes all-in. This film does that. People will be turned off by various elements, from the bleakness to the political heavyhandedness to the roller coaster denouement, and none of them will be wrong. But I ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Gail

Spoiler: but if anyone wants to read Paul Schrader's actual insights into this beautiful movie & its ending, look for his recent (awesome) interview with Marc Jacobson in Vulture.com. Then watch it again.

Anonymous picture
kay louise

Mary, I really appreciate your insightful comments!

Anonymous picture
Rachael

I thought Ethan Hawke was incredible, and I also loved seeing Cedric "the Entertainer" in this role. Amanda Seyfried was great too.
I think the message of this film is really important, especially in these times. Every good movie.

Anonymous picture
Mary

Mary was hardly confused. She knew enough to go up against the negative situation of the father of her child. She is one of the strongest characters in the narrative. Who led who on the cosmic interlude.

I head echoes of "me too" here. Not every interaction between male and ...Read more

Frank Sherman avatar
Frank Sherman

Mary, I read your comments. ANd I have to say, I"M NOT BUYING IT. I think that the male character was very strong here. Listen, I've been around for a very VERY longtime, and frankly have been going through a lot lately. BUt, what you said here, was not on "point" And here's why. This movie ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Mary

No one said the male character was not strong. Nonetheless he is was not exploitative of Mary; she held her own. Fathers and children figure strongly: Mary was upset about the mental state of the father of her unborn child, Elias lost a son and it destroyed his marriage, through Mary he ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Dee

First Reformed. Interesting in its move from what u might think is a meditation on religion to full-on Taxi Driver. But I just can't love it. It's the extremeness of his motivation I can't buy. However, the Magical Mystery Tour scene was lovely.

Anonymous picture
Gary

Otherwise worthy movie spoiled by such a drama queen last quarter.

Anonymous picture
JP

If Ethan Hawke doesn't get nominated for an Oscar I'll be pretty disappointed. Maybe the finest performance of his career. A brave and courageous picture with something real to say. If only this could be shown to every 12th grader the world over.

Anonymous picture
David

It's curious that the rectory was so lavishly designed with a French Rococo fireplace and a garish chandelier. That is certainly not in keeping with reform simplicity and other worldliness.

Anonymous picture
Mary

Perhaps it was purchased for its proximity to the church, and not constructed by the church. I took the sparseness contained within the shell of lavish design to express an inner human inner state.

Anonymous picture
Mary

I know someone whose life story this is (and isn't). He has not seen the film yet but already intuited it is about Reformed Churches everywhere.
He is not a minister, but an ordained Elder. He has rock solid faith against a host of challenges to his historic landmarked church and ...Read more

Anonymous picture
kay louise

need to write later-just wiped out my conversation to you!

Anonymous picture
Alan

Interesting, intense, if not entirely persuasive portrait of spiritual crisis. There's always something askew about Shrader's films, and not in a good way. They go to unsympathetic extremes. In a long line of Shrader's tortured iconoclasts, Hawke looks constipated throughout -- which is not ...Read more

Karen avatar
Karen

Dark, creepy, surreal, political, romantic, powerful ending. Wow. Somehow, it all worked and I'm still reeling from the ending. Very strong performance by Hawke.

Anonymous picture
Jennifer

I agree, very strong messages in this film. The ending had me pondering even after I finished it. The Reverend (Ethan Hawke) could not runaway from forgiveness. In the end, the world is still a better place with love-- even in the grimness of never ending problems.

Anonymous picture
David

Wow, African Americans who are Dutch Reform, that is almost unheard of (it's about 99% white). It's an incredibly racist church. And in upstate New York? Not likely even. They needed to have done some more research on the Dutch Reform Church. Whether it is the ridiculous settings (one chair ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Mary

Many Reformed Churches in New York embraced African Americans. A 19th-century NYC minister with a 60-year pastorate threatened to quit when his congregation balked at taking communion with African Americans. I am weary of people who fling out the word "racist," to reach for cheap advantage ...Read more

Anonymous picture
David
Anonymous picture
David

Thank you for your reply. I am quite familiar with the Reform Church. Not only is it one of the American denominations with the fewest African Americans, it is also widely criticized for being racist. The Dutch Reform Church in South African (Afrikans) is committed to apartheid, Read more

Anonymous picture
Mary

Why is this an issue, because there were black faces in the pews. There are black faces in my church's pews. The Dutch brought the first ship load of slaves in 1619. I repeat, can we talk about something relevant?

Anonymous picture
David

just don't comment Mary if it makes you uncomfortable. I see that you comment on everything here. I resent that you seem to take it upon yourself to determine what can and cannot be commented upon. I comment on the skewed and incorrect portrayal of an overwhelmingly white denomination made ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Mary

I fing bringing up the topic of racism in this context is just plain boring.

Anonymous picture
Kelly

I didn't know Ethan had it in him. Yes! Excellent film. All the adjectives!

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Amelia

ugh so depressing and so slow had to fast forward you make a choice about what you focus on in life

Anonymous picture
kay louise

yes, found it VERY depressing. Ethan was so convincingly real.. didn't even think of fast forwarding-was trying to understand, figure it out-thought they'd explain it all eventually..wrapping himself in that barbed wire, and then covering it up in white..can't possibly recommend it to ...Read more

Anonymous picture
Mark

A brilliant and devastating meditation on spirituality, environmentalism, community, and morality with pitch perfect pacing, extraordinary performances by Hawke and Seyfried, an incredibly dark and affective score by Lustmord, and gorgeous cinematography. Truly a masterpiece.

Anonymous picture
Nora

Food for thought about Global warming, pollution, and the despair that many people feel when they are confronted with illness and hopelessness for the future. Even the most faithful begin to despair. This is not a cheering up view of the future.

Frank Sherman avatar
Frank Sherman

I COMPLETELY disagree with you here. This movie is NOT about global warming. BUT about the characters emotions.

Anonymous picture
Mary

Their emotions are tied up with the existential threat of global warming.

Frank Sherman avatar
Frank Sherman

This movie fr*cked me up so hard. The imagery. The poetry. The symbolism. The metaphors. THE FR*CKING ENDING

Anonymous picture
Mitchell

No, this isn't fake Bergman, it's fake Bresson and Dreyer, about whom Schrader wrote a book many years ago, There are also borrowings from his script for Taxi Driver. All this said, this is a ponderous, pretentious, pale copy of some truly great films.

Anonymous picture
Mary

"Borrowings form his script?" Yikes, isn't an author entitled to style?

Anonymous picture
Zoe

Interesting parallels with Ingmar Bergman's "Winter Light" - brilliant!

Anonymous picture
Patricia

Some times a film is so much more - a poem

Anonymous picture
Hannah

The notion that at any given time the meeting of a stranger can alter your current path. Ethan Hawke carries the film and physically portrays his internal conflicts.

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Isabelle

Aspects of it were really interesting and compelling...but also, man, a lot of pretentious naval-gazing, as well.

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paul

Amazing film. Really heavy but rich in story and characters. I wish I had more words but I am afraid to give away too much.

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Benjamin

This is a great capper to Paul Schrader's "Men Who Keep Journals To Document Their Inner Thoughts As They Move Inevitably Towards Violence" Trilogy (there's probably a better title...) that includes Taxi Driver and Light Sleeper. Ethan Hawke gives a terrific, understated performance and the ...Read more

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Mary

Yes, brilliantly cold and subtle - art direction, cinematography.

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Joseph

I loved the camera work, the still, up-close shots, framing the actors' faces, getting us IN their faces. It allows us to see their talent as well, all the subtle non-verbal communication. Hawke is great, but I always enjoy seeing Seyfried, because I cannot forget her in Mean Girls, and skill ...Read more

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Mary

Yes.

Anonymous picture
Gerardo

Phenomenal film and one of the best films of 2018. Ethan Hawke and Paul Schrader deserve Oscar nominations.

Anonymous picture
Mary

A masterpiece. The struggle between the needs of the human and the needs of the divine.

Anonymous picture
Judith

Good