First Reformed

Reverend Ernst Toller (an excellent Ethan Hawke) heads a dwindling congregation at a small Dutch Protestant church in upstate New York. He drinks, far too much, since his marriage collapsed after his son died. Now, Toller mostly keeps to himself; he regrets an affair with the choir director who now won’t leave him at peace, and he seems to struggle keeping his faith.

One of his flock, pregnant Mary (Amanda Seyfried), approaches him to talk to her husband Michael (Philip Ettinger) who is sinking into a destructive depression over the planet’s demise due to global warming. How can they bring a child into this doomed world? In his intention to help, Toller takes on Michael’s crisis on top of his own, leading him down the road to an explosive catharsis…

Watch this movie preferably in a dark cinema with a big screen so as to be enveloped by the gloom and impending doom, which is underpinned by an almost complete lack of a score. The cinematography is very good and Ethan Hawke delivers some of the best acting of his career. This is not an easy movie, and it may be a bit slow for some viewers, but it is worth taking the time for.

★★★½

First Reformed
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