First Reformed (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

First Reformed (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Brought to life by delicate work from writer-director Paul Schrader and elevated by a standout performance by Ethan Hawke, First Reformed takes a sensitive and suspenseful look at weighty themes.

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Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. From writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; American Gigolo; Affliction) comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.

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Critic Reviews for First Reformed

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (21)

An embittered look at our world through the eyes of someone who's increasingly horrified to be a part of it, and a film that's one of the most searing experiences of the year.

May 21, 2018 | Full Review…

Schrader's chief influence here, as in many of his other films, is the great French director Robert Bresson... But Bresson's spare stylistics achieved a sublimity while Schrader's, though intermittently powerful, too often feel schematic.

May 18, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

A stunning, enrapturing film, a crowning work by one of the American cinema's most essential artists.

May 18, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

First Reformed has its steeple in the clouds and its foundation on solid ground.

May 17, 2018 | Full Review…

It is an exquisite piece of filmmaking and also a blunt, pulpy instrument, a despairing, fully sustained howl of a movie that is easily this director's finest work in years.

May 17, 2018 | Full Review…

Schrader...has made a fine existential-crisis movie. And for all its serious intent, it isn't torture to watch.

May 17, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for First Reformed

½

This is one of Schrader's best movies, with a screenplay reworking elements of "Taxi Driver" to ask serious moral questions about modern American Christianity and what, if any, purpose it can serve. Also, this career best work from Ethan Hawke.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

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