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First Reformed ist ein US-amerikanischer Thriller von Paul Schrader, der am August im Rahmen der Filmfestspiele in Venedig seine Premiere feierte. First Reformed. (59)IMDb h 53minX-Ray Nach einer Familientragödie erhält der ehemalige Militärpfarrer Ernst Toller die Chance für einen Neustart. Cast overview, first billed only: Violetta Schurawlow Özge Dogruol · Tobias Moretti Christian Steiner. Sammy Sheik Saeed el Hadary. Friedrich von Thun. Cast overview, first billed only: Katrin Saß Nina Kern · Cornelia Förder Jacqueline Kern. Enrico Robert René Kern. Michaela Hotz Mireille Kern. First Reformed aber überrascht. Paul Schrader bringt die Thematik Klimawandel mit den Ängsten in der amerikanischen Gesellschaft.

First Reformed Imdb

IMDb 7,11 Std. 53 Min+. FIRST REFORMED is a brooding, thriller-drama centred around a troubled priest of a small, historical church in upstate New. First Reformed - Ethan Hawke & Amanda Seyfried Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Film,. Erweitern. Mehr dazu. First Reformed - Ethan Hawke & Amanda. First Reformed. (59)IMDb h 53minX-Ray Nach einer Familientragödie erhält der ehemalige Militärpfarrer Ernst Toller die Chance für einen Neustart. First Reformed Imdb

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Roger More Documentary Biography. I Am Steve Click here is told through the eyes of the people that knew him best including much of his family that followed https://camdencreate.co/kino-filme-online-stream/hr-federn.php path into acting including son Chad, "Karate Kid"his Eksi Bir For years, people struggled with shortages of everything, housing, water, food, clothing. When Vampire Academy 2 Deutsch of the farmers is found murdered one day, his labourers know of nothing, but are relieved, as the tyranny has ended. Auch wenn er das Gespräch mit Michael als belebend empfindet, beginnt Toller durch die Beschäftigung mit diesem Thema sowohl seinen Glauben als auch seinen Lebenszweck zu zweifeln. National Board of Review Awards
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National Board of Review Awards Added to Watchlist. Mai in ausgewählte US-amerikanische Kinos. Was this review helpful to you? Plot Summary. Satellite Awards Özge Dogruol Tobias Moretti Ein Soundtrack, der acht Musikstücke umfasst, wurde im Januar veröffentlicht. A tough young woman from Turkey, who https://camdencreate.co/kino-filme-online-stream/neuigkeiten-fall-rebecca.php as a taxi driver, witnesses one of the murders and becomes a target. September wurde er beim Toronto International Film Festival gezeigt. Writer: Martin Ambrosch.

Choir Krystina Alabado Choir Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Andrew Fiero Jeffers' Daughter uncredited Michael Metta Balq's Son uncredited Guillermo Pacheco Soffia Parishioner uncredited Frankie Verroca Brooke Lyndon-Stanford Luca Scalisi Berger Robert Berisha John Digirolomo Stuart Dinsey Kathy Freeman Nicole Gamory Patricia Keane Peter Kirby Barbara Simmons Gigi Simone Rodeena Stephens Jerry Stoeffhaas Edit page.

After a lengthy acclaimed career, First Reformed marked the very first time that Paul Schrader was nominated for an Academy Award.

Paul Schrader was motivated to write the screenplay based on his despair at the effect of climate change on the planet. He's ten years older and had an innate air of world-weariness that was appropriate for the role.

Filming for the interior and exterior of the church was done at the Zion Episcopal Church in Douglaston, Queens. There is a scene in which Toller, at breakfast, pours hard liquor into a bowl and dips bread into it.

This is very similar to a moment in Taxi Driver also written by Paul Schrader, more than four decades earlier , in which the main character pours liquor over bread chunks and eats them.

The film's name was inspired by the director's own religious background in what is known as Calvinism, the second expression of Protestant Christianity to spring out of the Protestant Reformation.

The first being Lutheranism. John Calvin and his followers believed that Martin Luther had not taken his reformation far enough and sought to install doctrines that further distances themselves from Roman Catholicism.

The only film of the year to be nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar and not be nominated for Best Picture. In it, a young priest in residence among distant villagers writes a diary where he questions his capacity to help spiritually his parishioners while hurting from a mysterious sickness to his stomach.

Greatly inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light where a small-town priest struggles with his faith.

Filmed in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. The floor lamp beside Mary's couch is shaped like an eyeball.

I feel like it really demands to be seen whether you're a person of faith or not. This is definitely not your typical Christian film and that's probably gonna upset a lot of people, but this one and Schrader have more lofty ideas and weighty themes on their mind.

This is a very dense screenplay which leads to a heavy film that expects a lot from the audience. Paul Schrader isn't letting anyone off the hook easily here This is also the kind of film that doesn't divulge all of its secrets in one sitting Paul Schrader and company have created something wholly unique and special with 'First Reformed' and I think it's definitely something to be valued.

So if you're in the mood for something a little different and don't mind your movies making you think, then please give it a chance!

PotassiumMan 3 June It is very unusual for a film to aggravate me with its heavy-handed narrative and simple-minded mentality, but this one enraged me more than any other film I've seen in years.

To be sure, this film does not immediately embrace its radical ideology. It starts out deliberately, almost at a molasses-like pace but then abruptly turns into something profoundly and alarmingly nonsensical, which is why I'm never going to forget it, but not in a good way.

Director Paul Schrader provides us with the story of Reverend Toller played with pained dignity by Ethan Hawke , who lost his son in Iraq and has had to cope with the emotional scars ever since.

His marriage is in ruins. His stately old church in upstate New York is an historical landmark but lives in the shadows of the more modern, larger congregation that has greater weight in the local community.

Hawke's character gets to know a young couple in his small church, one of whom is a troubled environmental activist. This raw drama is meant to be about the loss of faith, but its singular problem is the dearth of character development that is required for the extreme turn that the plot takes.

The film's descent into lunacy, into over-the-top absurdity is not warranted given how little we connect with Hawke's character.

His life has problems, for sure, but his psyche is somewhat inscrutable despite a voiceover diary, no less and therefore what follows is inexplicable.

His ultimate motives are maddeningly opaque. The ideological transformation lacks a coherent basis and therefore never touches credibility even with its fingertips.

The film's shift felt very sudden, and I was shaking my head in the end, wondering how the storyline, for lack of a better word, collapsed.

Its promising start felt like years ago when the credits were rolling. With the right approach and a more subtle, nuanced point of view, this film could have been a classic.

Instead, it becomes a cartoonish propaganda piece that will not satisfy an educated audience. Not recommended. I'll applaud a good film whether I hold the beliefs of the maker s.

Add one counseling session with a young, environmental fanatic and boom: suicide bomber. Is this a remotely probable demographic?

There is some support here, but the actual intellectual engagement at a theological level supposedly this character's driving mentality are a few obvious scripture quotes and brief exchanges.

I have engaged in far deeper conversations with environmental activists on Christian under-pinning for their beliefs than this film even considers.

It isn't of substance. This is part of the story, but it is convenient when I can leave a theater on the global consequences of climate change and not feel an iota of responsibility or need to change.

Thank you, for the pat on the back and reinforcement of smug slactivism. Hawke's portrayal: he nailed the glassy-eyed, soulless addict.

Unfortunately, the character needed to be so much more than this to pull such grand issues together. Conclusion: Based on the narrative, I'm forced into a few possible explanations for the character's development: 1.

Anomalous psychotic break not shown on film 2. I'm leaning toward the latter. Comments welcomed.

I've been a fan of Ethan Hawke for 38 years, and I was sailing along with First Reformed through the dramatic turn but disconnected in the last fifteen minutes when the storytelling went off the rails.

The protagonist gets an idea that is certainly dramatic, but doesn't first his character or backstory. It simply makes no sense and when the screen went to black for the credits I actually thought there was a projection malfunction!

The abrupt ending wasn't challenging, it was stupid and I felt used. The last fifteen minutes of First Reformed were neither.

The Yakuza is one of my all-time favorites. I would not have gone to see the movie without the Paul Schrader connection.

The theme of the movie is very contemporary and thought provoking. It was well acted and the photography was great.

But if you remember the scene from The Producers where everyone in the audience is just looking at each other in disbelief before Dick Shawn makes his appearance, that is the exact reaction of the audience to the end of the movie when I watched it.

The ending of the movie was so bizarre that it actually seemed as if the projector had broken. Do not under any circumstances spend money to see this.

It has redeeming value of course but I guarantee you that you will be disappointed. I don't normally write reviews with spoilers.

This story comes completely undone with in the last five minutes. And does so in such a fashion I managed to practically dismiss everything good from the beginning.

The quiet but steadfast Pastor Toller is a token Pastor in a tiny token church financed by a much larger religious organization known as Abundant Life.

Toller already has faced a fair amount of pain and loss, his son killed in the Iraqi war only six months into his first deployment, which lead to his divorce.

Toller is quietly plagued by alcoholism and guilt as a result. He also has the added anxiety of now facing terminal cancer.

A young married couple, Michael and Mary, come to the Pastor for counseling as Michael wants his wife to abort their coming baby. Michael is completely obsessed with the idea of total global environmental meltdown by the year , and can not bear the thought of his child being handed an unlivable world.

The good Pastor Toller very much enjoys engaging Michael for the sake of avoiding the abortion, and feels he is gaining ground to give the soon to be father some badly needed hope.

The cinematography greatly captures the mood with most scenes so darkly lit and in late fall, just before the advent of a long and cold New York winter.

There is a near complete lack of a soundtrack as well to deepen the severity of the conversations and the Pastor's own private musings.

Michael then abruptly commits suicide, dooming Toller to find his body minus half his head. Toller now takes on Michael's grave environmental concerns, and it doesn't help when he discovers the main benefactor of his parent church is none other than a man who runs one of the biggest corporate polluters on the list.

Toller is already in the possession of a suicide bomb-vest, homemade by the late Michael. The suspense at this point is thick enough to be cut with a knife.

But the incredibly weak, silly and scattered ending destroys everything one might be on the edge of their seat expecting.

Does he blow up the church with all the evil, rich polluters? Does he commit suicide by drinking Drano? He instead wraps himself up in barbed-wire and makes out with his girlfriend.

Absolutely disappointing. Bertaut 24 July And whilst I think that's an oversimplification, unjustly ignoring such strong screenplays as The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead , and very unjustly ignoring such superb directorial work as Affliction and Auto Focus , there can be little doubt that First Reformed is easily his best film of the last fifteen years or so which wouldn't be hard when you consider films like The Canyons , Dying of the Light , and Dog Eat Dog The film tells a deceptively simple story - Reverend Ernst Toller Ethan Hawke is the parish priest of a small congregation in the Snowbridge suburb of New York.

A former military chaplain, Toller is struggling with the death of his son, Joseph, who he encouraged to enlist, and who was killed several months into his first tour in Iraq.

As a result, Toller's marriage fell apart, which his wife blaming him for Joseph's death. As the film begins, Toller's spiritual crisis is already well under way.

He's drinking too much, doesn't show much interest in his official duties, doesn't seem bothered that his congregation has dwindled to about ten people, and has taken to recording his thoughts in a journal which he plans to keep for one year, and then destroy.

A radical environmentalist who has just been released from prison in Canada, Michael has developed extreme nihilistic views, and wants Mary to abort their unborn child because he doesn't think anyone has the right to bring a child into a dying world.

Although initially reluctant to get involved, Mary persuades Toller to counsel Michael. Meanwhile, the th anniversary of the First Reformed church from which Toller works is fast approaching, with a huge service to be attended by both the governor and mayor.

The above plot summary takes up roughly the first twenty minutes or so of the film, almost up to the end of the first act.

At that point, it looks as if the narrative is heading in the direction of following Toller as he sets about changing Michael's extreme worldview.

But that's not where it goes at all, instead focusing almost exclusively on the disintegration of Toller's faith, and the development of his own nihilistic outlook.

Along the way, it introduces us to three main supporting characters - Reverend Joel Jeffers Cedric the Entertainer of Abundant Life, the megachurch that owns First Reformed, and who gave Toller his job; Esther Victoria Hill , choirmaster at First Reformed, who had a brief sexual relationship with Toller after his marriage ended; and Edward Balq Michael Gaston , an industrialist whose company is regarded as one of the worst polluters on the planet.

As Toller wrestles with his conscience, he comes into conflict with all three in various ways. At the same time, Mary remains virtually the only remnant of hope in his life, as they continue to grow close.

The most striking thing to me about First Reformed is that it is brilliantly shot in Academy ratio 1. Coupled with this, Schrader is remarkably consistent in composing perfectly symmetrical shots the opening scene is a good example.

Together, the small frame and the symmetrical compositions give one the impression of looking at a confessional, with the priest on one side and the confessor on the other.

As Toller's journal entries occur throughout the film in the form of voiceover, this aesthetic replication of a confessional is enhanced even further - although Toller is not the priest hearing the confession, he is the one confessing.

In line with this, First Reformed is not an easy film to watch. It's central themes are suffering, loss of faith, nihilism, and environmental catastrophe, and the way the film is shot, with the added intimacy of the journal, make it seems as if the audience is suffering right alongside Toller; we're drawn completely into his world, and even his mind, in a way very few films achieve.

Schrader allows the content to brilliantly dictate the form, with the two becoming so intertwined as to be virtually indistinguishable from one another - a concept most filmmakers don't seem to even understand, let alone have the ability to accomplish.

Interestingly this is the second film in the last twelve months to use Academy ratio for explicit narrative reasons, the other being David Lowery 's superb A Ghost Story Of course, Schrader is as cine-literate as they come, and doesn't make films in isolation for example, there are at least three explicit visual references to Taxi Driver , and looking at First Reformed in relation to his career would require a full article-length study to itself.

However, the film in his oeuvre of which I was most reminded was, strangely enough, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist , which is not especially good, but which does share many of the same narrative beats and thematic concerns - a lost priest whose experiences of the darker side of humanity has led to him questioning his faith; a crisis of conscience; a righteous cause to which he totally gives himself over; an indifferent God watching everything unfold; an unimaginable sacrifice; hope offered in the form of an innocent.

First Reformed is a lot better, and a lot more morally complex, but there's certainly a thematic consistency.

However, that is not to say First Reformed is perfect. There are parts where it is extraordinarily clunky. For example, there's the wake where a group of environmentalists start singing an awful cappella version of Neil Young 's activist song, "Who's Gonna Stand up?

Additionally, although I've seen many reviews talking about how thought-provoking the environmentalist side of the story is, for me it never really coalesced into anything inherently coherent.

Obviously, Toller is a man ready to fall apart when the movie begins, and Michael's concerns about the future of the planet serve as the catalyst for that.

However, rather than the film presenting this as nothing more than the backdrop against which Toller's crisis takes place, and thus purposely rendering it unimportant in and of itself, Schrader seems to be trying to genuinely shoehorn in a call-to-action.

Which is fairly out of place. And, to be honest, the photograph of the emaciated polar bear is far more disturbing and resonant than any of the facts and figures the film occasionally tosses out.

There aren't that many instances of it, but when they come, they are so black as to be easily missed. Probably the best example is when Toller is showing a group of children around First Reformed, and telling them how it was a stop on the Underground Railroad, showing them a secret basement in which the runaway slaves would hide.

However, instead of simply giving them a quick history lesson, he ends up staring into the basement and giving a graphic description of what it must have been like hiding in the dark, scared and tired, with no room to move.

There's a few moments like this, but I didn't think they really sat well with the ultra-realism on display elsewhere.

But they're minor faults, and all things considered, this is a high-quality film. Will it be in contention come awards season?

Schrader has always had a fraught relationship with the Academy hard to believe he's never even been nominated for an Oscar , but this is the kind of serious subject matter that voters usually lap up.

First Reformed Imdb - Navigationsmenü

Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. The Crucible Michael hat sich mit einem Gewehr selbst getötet. IMDb 7,11 Std. 53 Min+. FIRST REFORMED is a brooding, thriller-drama centred around a troubled priest of a small, historical church in upstate New. First Reformed. IMDb 7,11 h 53 minX-Ray Nach einer Familientragödie erhält der ehemalige Militärpfarrer Ernst Toller die Chance für einen Neustart in. First Reformed in Prag! Programm und Tickets für bevorstehende First Reformed. Tickets Speichern Link IMDB. Premiere Bewertung. First Reformed - Ethan Hawke & Amanda Seyfried Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Film,. Erweitern. Mehr dazu. First Reformed - Ethan Hawke & Amanda. Datum: ; Original Titel: First Reformed; Genre: Drama; Thriller; Darsteller Unbekannt; IMDB: camdencreate.co?ref_=​fn_al_tt_1.

The above plot summary takes up roughly the first twenty minutes or so of the film, almost up to the end of the first act.

At that point, it looks as if the narrative is heading in the direction of following Toller as he sets about changing Michael's extreme worldview.

But that's not where it goes at all, instead focusing almost exclusively on the disintegration of Toller's faith, and the development of his own nihilistic outlook.

Along the way, it introduces us to three main supporting characters - Reverend Joel Jeffers Cedric the Entertainer of Abundant Life, the megachurch that owns First Reformed, and who gave Toller his job; Esther Victoria Hill , choirmaster at First Reformed, who had a brief sexual relationship with Toller after his marriage ended; and Edward Balq Michael Gaston , an industrialist whose company is regarded as one of the worst polluters on the planet.

As Toller wrestles with his conscience, he comes into conflict with all three in various ways. At the same time, Mary remains virtually the only remnant of hope in his life, as they continue to grow close.

The most striking thing to me about First Reformed is that it is brilliantly shot in Academy ratio 1. Coupled with this, Schrader is remarkably consistent in composing perfectly symmetrical shots the opening scene is a good example.

Together, the small frame and the symmetrical compositions give one the impression of looking at a confessional, with the priest on one side and the confessor on the other.

As Toller's journal entries occur throughout the film in the form of voiceover, this aesthetic replication of a confessional is enhanced even further - although Toller is not the priest hearing the confession, he is the one confessing.

In line with this, First Reformed is not an easy film to watch. It's central themes are suffering, loss of faith, nihilism, and environmental catastrophe, and the way the film is shot, with the added intimacy of the journal, make it seems as if the audience is suffering right alongside Toller; we're drawn completely into his world, and even his mind, in a way very few films achieve.

Schrader allows the content to brilliantly dictate the form, with the two becoming so intertwined as to be virtually indistinguishable from one another - a concept most filmmakers don't seem to even understand, let alone have the ability to accomplish.

Interestingly this is the second film in the last twelve months to use Academy ratio for explicit narrative reasons, the other being David Lowery 's superb A Ghost Story Of course, Schrader is as cine-literate as they come, and doesn't make films in isolation for example, there are at least three explicit visual references to Taxi Driver , and looking at First Reformed in relation to his career would require a full article-length study to itself.

However, the film in his oeuvre of which I was most reminded was, strangely enough, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist , which is not especially good, but which does share many of the same narrative beats and thematic concerns - a lost priest whose experiences of the darker side of humanity has led to him questioning his faith; a crisis of conscience; a righteous cause to which he totally gives himself over; an indifferent God watching everything unfold; an unimaginable sacrifice; hope offered in the form of an innocent.

First Reformed is a lot better, and a lot more morally complex, but there's certainly a thematic consistency. However, that is not to say First Reformed is perfect.

There are parts where it is extraordinarily clunky. For example, there's the wake where a group of environmentalists start singing an awful cappella version of Neil Young 's activist song, "Who's Gonna Stand up?

Additionally, although I've seen many reviews talking about how thought-provoking the environmentalist side of the story is, for me it never really coalesced into anything inherently coherent.

Obviously, Toller is a man ready to fall apart when the movie begins, and Michael's concerns about the future of the planet serve as the catalyst for that.

However, rather than the film presenting this as nothing more than the backdrop against which Toller's crisis takes place, and thus purposely rendering it unimportant in and of itself, Schrader seems to be trying to genuinely shoehorn in a call-to-action.

Which is fairly out of place. And, to be honest, the photograph of the emaciated polar bear is far more disturbing and resonant than any of the facts and figures the film occasionally tosses out.

There aren't that many instances of it, but when they come, they are so black as to be easily missed. Probably the best example is when Toller is showing a group of children around First Reformed, and telling them how it was a stop on the Underground Railroad, showing them a secret basement in which the runaway slaves would hide.

However, instead of simply giving them a quick history lesson, he ends up staring into the basement and giving a graphic description of what it must have been like hiding in the dark, scared and tired, with no room to move.

There's a few moments like this, but I didn't think they really sat well with the ultra-realism on display elsewhere.

But they're minor faults, and all things considered, this is a high-quality film. Will it be in contention come awards season?

Schrader has always had a fraught relationship with the Academy hard to believe he's never even been nominated for an Oscar , but this is the kind of serious subject matter that voters usually lap up.

I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see Hawke get some acting nods, possibly Seyfried too. Irrespective of that and we all know the amount of Oscar nominations a film gets has very little to do with its quality , this is a strong film made by a skilled artist about a subject matter for which he clearly feels deeply.

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Alternate Versions. Rate This. A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

Director: Paul Schrader. Writer: Paul Schrader. Added to Watchlist. From metacritic. Share this Rating Title: First Reformed 7. Use the HTML below.

You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Nominated for 1 Oscar. Edit Cast Cast overview, first billed only: Ethan Hawke Toller Amanda Seyfried Mary Cedric the Entertainer Esther Philip Ettinger Michael Michael Gaston Balq Bill Hoag Elder Kristin Villanueva Nurse Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz Middle-Aged Tourist Ken Forman Is this a remotely probable demographic?

There is some support here, but the actual intellectual engagement at a theological level supposedly this character's driving mentality are a few obvious scripture quotes and brief exchanges.

I have engaged in far deeper conversations with environmental activists on Christian under-pinning for their beliefs than this film even considers.

It isn't of substance. This is part of the story, but it is convenient when I can leave a theater on the global consequences of climate change and not feel an iota of responsibility or need to change.

Thank you, for the pat on the back and reinforcement of smug slactivism. Hawke's portrayal: he nailed the glassy-eyed, soulless addict. Unfortunately, the character needed to be so much more than this to pull such grand issues together.

Conclusion: Based on the narrative, I'm forced into a few possible explanations for the character's development: 1.

Anomalous psychotic break not shown on film 2. I'm leaning toward the latter. Comments welcomed. I've been a fan of Ethan Hawke for 38 years, and I was sailing along with First Reformed through the dramatic turn but disconnected in the last fifteen minutes when the storytelling went off the rails.

The protagonist gets an idea that is certainly dramatic, but doesn't first his character or backstory.

It simply makes no sense and when the screen went to black for the credits I actually thought there was a projection malfunction!

The abrupt ending wasn't challenging, it was stupid and I felt used. The last fifteen minutes of First Reformed were neither.

The Yakuza is one of my all-time favorites. I would not have gone to see the movie without the Paul Schrader connection.

The theme of the movie is very contemporary and thought provoking. It was well acted and the photography was great.

But if you remember the scene from The Producers where everyone in the audience is just looking at each other in disbelief before Dick Shawn makes his appearance, that is the exact reaction of the audience to the end of the movie when I watched it.

The ending of the movie was so bizarre that it actually seemed as if the projector had broken. Do not under any circumstances spend money to see this.

It has redeeming value of course but I guarantee you that you will be disappointed. I don't normally write reviews with spoilers.

This story comes completely undone with in the last five minutes. And does so in such a fashion I managed to practically dismiss everything good from the beginning.

The quiet but steadfast Pastor Toller is a token Pastor in a tiny token church financed by a much larger religious organization known as Abundant Life.

Toller already has faced a fair amount of pain and loss, his son killed in the Iraqi war only six months into his first deployment, which lead to his divorce.

Toller is quietly plagued by alcoholism and guilt as a result. He also has the added anxiety of now facing terminal cancer.

A young married couple, Michael and Mary, come to the Pastor for counseling as Michael wants his wife to abort their coming baby.

Michael is completely obsessed with the idea of total global environmental meltdown by the year , and can not bear the thought of his child being handed an unlivable world.

The good Pastor Toller very much enjoys engaging Michael for the sake of avoiding the abortion, and feels he is gaining ground to give the soon to be father some badly needed hope.

The cinematography greatly captures the mood with most scenes so darkly lit and in late fall, just before the advent of a long and cold New York winter.

There is a near complete lack of a soundtrack as well to deepen the severity of the conversations and the Pastor's own private musings.

Michael then abruptly commits suicide, dooming Toller to find his body minus half his head. Toller now takes on Michael's grave environmental concerns, and it doesn't help when he discovers the main benefactor of his parent church is none other than a man who runs one of the biggest corporate polluters on the list.

Toller is already in the possession of a suicide bomb-vest, homemade by the late Michael. The suspense at this point is thick enough to be cut with a knife.

But the incredibly weak, silly and scattered ending destroys everything one might be on the edge of their seat expecting. Does he blow up the church with all the evil, rich polluters?

Does he commit suicide by drinking Drano? He instead wraps himself up in barbed-wire and makes out with his girlfriend.

Absolutely disappointing. Bertaut 24 July And whilst I think that's an oversimplification, unjustly ignoring such strong screenplays as The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead , and very unjustly ignoring such superb directorial work as Affliction and Auto Focus , there can be little doubt that First Reformed is easily his best film of the last fifteen years or so which wouldn't be hard when you consider films like The Canyons , Dying of the Light , and Dog Eat Dog The film tells a deceptively simple story - Reverend Ernst Toller Ethan Hawke is the parish priest of a small congregation in the Snowbridge suburb of New York.

A former military chaplain, Toller is struggling with the death of his son, Joseph, who he encouraged to enlist, and who was killed several months into his first tour in Iraq.

As a result, Toller's marriage fell apart, which his wife blaming him for Joseph's death. As the film begins, Toller's spiritual crisis is already well under way.

He's drinking too much, doesn't show much interest in his official duties, doesn't seem bothered that his congregation has dwindled to about ten people, and has taken to recording his thoughts in a journal which he plans to keep for one year, and then destroy.

A radical environmentalist who has just been released from prison in Canada, Michael has developed extreme nihilistic views, and wants Mary to abort their unborn child because he doesn't think anyone has the right to bring a child into a dying world.

Although initially reluctant to get involved, Mary persuades Toller to counsel Michael. Meanwhile, the th anniversary of the First Reformed church from which Toller works is fast approaching, with a huge service to be attended by both the governor and mayor.

The above plot summary takes up roughly the first twenty minutes or so of the film, almost up to the end of the first act.

At that point, it looks as if the narrative is heading in the direction of following Toller as he sets about changing Michael's extreme worldview.

But that's not where it goes at all, instead focusing almost exclusively on the disintegration of Toller's faith, and the development of his own nihilistic outlook.

Along the way, it introduces us to three main supporting characters - Reverend Joel Jeffers Cedric the Entertainer of Abundant Life, the megachurch that owns First Reformed, and who gave Toller his job; Esther Victoria Hill , choirmaster at First Reformed, who had a brief sexual relationship with Toller after his marriage ended; and Edward Balq Michael Gaston , an industrialist whose company is regarded as one of the worst polluters on the planet.

As Toller wrestles with his conscience, he comes into conflict with all three in various ways. At the same time, Mary remains virtually the only remnant of hope in his life, as they continue to grow close.

The most striking thing to me about First Reformed is that it is brilliantly shot in Academy ratio 1. Coupled with this, Schrader is remarkably consistent in composing perfectly symmetrical shots the opening scene is a good example.

Together, the small frame and the symmetrical compositions give one the impression of looking at a confessional, with the priest on one side and the confessor on the other.

As Toller's journal entries occur throughout the film in the form of voiceover, this aesthetic replication of a confessional is enhanced even further - although Toller is not the priest hearing the confession, he is the one confessing.

In line with this, First Reformed is not an easy film to watch. It's central themes are suffering, loss of faith, nihilism, and environmental catastrophe, and the way the film is shot, with the added intimacy of the journal, make it seems as if the audience is suffering right alongside Toller; we're drawn completely into his world, and even his mind, in a way very few films achieve.

Schrader allows the content to brilliantly dictate the form, with the two becoming so intertwined as to be virtually indistinguishable from one another - a concept most filmmakers don't seem to even understand, let alone have the ability to accomplish.

Interestingly this is the second film in the last twelve months to use Academy ratio for explicit narrative reasons, the other being David Lowery 's superb A Ghost Story Of course, Schrader is as cine-literate as they come, and doesn't make films in isolation for example, there are at least three explicit visual references to Taxi Driver , and looking at First Reformed in relation to his career would require a full article-length study to itself.

However, the film in his oeuvre of which I was most reminded was, strangely enough, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist , which is not especially good, but which does share many of the same narrative beats and thematic concerns - a lost priest whose experiences of the darker side of humanity has led to him questioning his faith; a crisis of conscience; a righteous cause to which he totally gives himself over; an indifferent God watching everything unfold; an unimaginable sacrifice; hope offered in the form of an innocent.

First Reformed is a lot better, and a lot more morally complex, but there's certainly a thematic consistency.

However, that is not to say First Reformed is perfect. There are parts where it is extraordinarily clunky. For example, there's the wake where a group of environmentalists start singing an awful cappella version of Neil Young 's activist song, "Who's Gonna Stand up?

Additionally, although I've seen many reviews talking about how thought-provoking the environmentalist side of the story is, for me it never really coalesced into anything inherently coherent.

Obviously, Toller is a man ready to fall apart when the movie begins, and Michael's concerns about the future of the planet serve as the catalyst for that.

However, rather than the film presenting this as nothing more than the backdrop against which Toller's crisis takes place, and thus purposely rendering it unimportant in and of itself, Schrader seems to be trying to genuinely shoehorn in a call-to-action.

Which is fairly out of place. And, to be honest, the photograph of the emaciated polar bear is far more disturbing and resonant than any of the facts and figures the film occasionally tosses out.

There aren't that many instances of it, but when they come, they are so black as to be easily missed.

Probably the best example is when Toller is showing a group of children around First Reformed, and telling them how it was a stop on the Underground Railroad, showing them a secret basement in which the runaway slaves would hide.

However, instead of simply giving them a quick history lesson, he ends up staring into the basement and giving a graphic description of what it must have been like hiding in the dark, scared and tired, with no room to move.

There's a few moments like this, but I didn't think they really sat well with the ultra-realism on display elsewhere.

But they're minor faults, and all things considered, this is a high-quality film. Will it be in contention come awards season? Schrader has always had a fraught relationship with the Academy hard to believe he's never even been nominated for an Oscar , but this is the kind of serious subject matter that voters usually lap up.

I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see Hawke get some acting nods, possibly Seyfried too. Irrespective of that and we all know the amount of Oscar nominations a film gets has very little to do with its quality , this is a strong film made by a skilled artist about a subject matter for which he clearly feels deeply.

Having seen the film last evening after reading many positive reviews, I am dumbfounded by the praise being heaped upon this very imperfect effort.

As a Presbyterian "Reformed" minister myself, I am accustomed to being disappointed at the unrealistic way clergy are portrayed in films.

Sadly, this film did no better. Trust me, no year-old seminary-educated clergyperson would speak the way Ethan Hawke speaks in this film.

His character sounds like something out of the 19th century, with no awareness of contemporary bible translations, gender inclusive language, or healthy boundaries training.

The writer seems to have been totally unaware of the polity form of government of reformed churches, and the connectional support systems that are in place to care for troubled clergy.

Schrader's depiction of church life abounds in stereotypes and cliches. The hymns used throughout the film are dusty old relics of generations past.

The theological dialogue is superficial at best clearly those who think it's "deep" and "intellectual" have never read a theology book or heard a real theologian speak.

The film's message of environmental destruction is delivered with a sledgehammer, as if the audience were too stupid to understand subtlety or nuance.

The extremes to which the main character descends are shocking, because they do not seem warranted by his circumstances, nor consistent with his character.

The film is so bleak and depressing, one hopes at least for some kind of redemption at the end. What it finally delivers is so contrived and ridiculous, my friend and I literally burst out laughing.

My only thought as I left the theatre was, "You have got to be kidding me! I did love the cinamatography although I got really tired of everything being colored slate-blue.

OK, you're giving us a barren color palette to match the pastor's mental state, we get it already. But as a pastor who's spent about 30 years in full-time church work, I'm wondering when directors, even great artists like this one, will bother to bring in a religious consultant on the project that they'll listen to.

Because if you've ever worked in a church, most any church, the movie looses credibility with you quickly.

To be clear, I have no trouble theologically with the film. And although it has a hot button political issue, I don't have a problem with that.

But the emotional detachment the director gives both church settings is laughable. If the Abundant Living Church were as Stepford-Wivian and glassy-eyed as the youth choir rehearsing in their auditorium, it would be the size of Ethan Hawke's church and not a megachurch.

Even the bad megachurches at least know how to fake warmth and emotion. These guys would never make it to the size depicted in the film.

And no one's youth "choir" has 5 kids in it. They's never sound as pitch perfect as that group did. And the youth choir sings at the husband's memorial service one of those songs a choir normally has sitting around ready to go for such a sudden event Is Al Gore the worship pastor at this church?

Was that the big number they were working on for the next Sunday's service? Was this Greenpeace Baptist Church? Then there's the scene when Mary talks about how she used to lay on top of her husband and touch hands.

In a tossed-off, non chalant way the pastor asks, "Do you want me to do that? No, if this was realistic at all, that would have been an awkward moment, at least for him.

Even for a non-religious counselor, that would be a huge crossing of the line. And while he might choose to cross that line, it wouldn't be a casual moment.

So there is no emotional truth to the scene Let's see, what else You spend thousands of dollars to repair a large pipe organ.

You have a big ceremony for the church's th anniversary. So of course, you only play the two keyboard registers on the organ and completely ignore the bass foot pedals that would make it sound all majestic.

Seriously, there's no little old lady alive or dead who would have played Onward Christian Soldiers as wimpy as that organist did.

Could they have not hired a real organist to play it properly? And then the lady gets up and sings the Stepford Wife version of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms to kick off the service.

Is this truly what the director thinks religious people are like? Does he really believe religion is so devoid of passion?

Oh, then Mary comes back to the pastorium and kisses and hugs the pastor There and several other idiosyncrasies made the film actually a bit funny for me.

My daughter, who's 25 and grew up in this pastor's home, snorted several times as well, simply because it was so incongruent. Again, I was not offended by the film.

In fact, I think there was a much better film there underneath, one that would have dealt with the pastor's struggle with suffering and how God exists in a world filled with evil and corruption.

I read one review saying this film was an indictment of megachurches. If you want to really indict them, please give me a call.

This was way too phony to hit home. While some churches have done some awful things, having them underwritten by evil corporations is not a usual scenario.

I know of no churches that receive corporate funding. It simply doesn't work that way. And if Schrader had bothered asked anyone, they could have told him.

The film did too much of what people say they don't like about pastors: it preaches endlessly. The pastor falling into the husband's obsession with environmentalist extremism made no sense emotionally.

It simply felt like the director preaching to us. And preaching, I believe, is best reserved for a Sunday service ;0.

I have to urge everyone I can to go see this movie while it's still in theaters. I have often wondered whether people who saw classics during their original releases recognized them in the moment; now I have to believe they do.

Perhaps I'm mistaken - but I fully expect First Reformed to appear on many lists of greatest films in 30 years.

Unfortunately it seems it will be tragically unappreciated until then. While viewers will no doubt recognize the references to other Schrader screenplays Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ , and the strong thematic resemblance to the Ingmar Bergman film Winter Light, this extraordinary story of a minister in the grip of a divine darkness deserves to be appreciated before being compared.

A tight script and gorgeously bleak cinematography allow Ethan Hawke to explode onto the screen in nearly every scene.

While the entire film is a rare gift of near-perfect execution, Hawke in particular displays tremendous expressiveness in his portrayal of a mind's slow unraveling.

Hawke's Toller establishes the key theme early in the film: we're told that we must hold onto both despair and hope simultaneously.

Toller's efforts to live this paradox lead him down a path of madness. As Michael played by Philip Ettinger makes quite clear, once the idea that despair is realism has taken hold, attempting to continue to live with hope feels at best insincere, at worst hypocritical, and Toller begins to see both of these attitudes at work in his community.

This realism structures much of the film which is why the few moments it strays are so shocking , and necessitates Toller's downward spiral.

At its worst, despair causes even genuine concern to appear to be insidious misdirection. What hope can one marry to this kind of despair?

Only, Michael suggests, the hope of martyrdom. We discover that existential crises and sincere Christianity make quite the couple. Toller finds he must reject the cheerful face presented by contemporary Christianity, but as an alternative he can find only the Garden and the Cross.

The careful logic of it draws us in; it's difficult to see where Toller goes wrong. Is there room for any real hope in this life?

Can God forgive us, or must we find redemption ourselves? Toller, it seems, will be lucky to find the answers he seeks.

Another mixed bag for me.

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First Reformed Imdb Video

Paul Schrader Talks About "First Reformed", Faith and the End of Mankind

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