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First Reformed
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First Reformed

A24
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Comments (91)

Vicki avatar
Vicki

Intriguing until THE END. WTF???!!! His imagination? What? And all those bottles and cans in his trash? Was there no recycling in this town and this is a movie about c climate change? Sheesh.

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marten

Schrader explores the consequences of directionless Godless nihilism, in this case, of the eco-greenies.

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Bruce

I think there is an unintentional truth and positive message inherent in the film: substituting despair over climate change for hope in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ might just lead people into madness. Don't really get the Taxi Driver comparisons although DeNiro seems to have lost ...Read more

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Richard

It is hopeless. There is love. I watched both grow with equal inevitability. Courageous filmmaking opens a window where most of us blindly see a wall.

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Allen

A good, weird experience. The second half put me in the solitary, ominous world of Taxi Driver. I liked that many questions were left unanswered - I think, at least.

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Terry

no comment

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Mary

Egads. This film had all the subtlety of a Gabor sister between husbands.

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Susan

good film about disappointment, loss, pain, anger, destruction, hate, and ultimately love,

jithesh avatar
jithesh

Amazing. Terrifying. Great story telling. Great work by Ethan Hawke. Great script and voice over was delivered to perfection. It's a love story than a film on climate change or pollution. When we deny love, shadows get the lead. All the shadow forces are set to destroy the world and ...Read more

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Adam

very bad film... only got awards because it lectures about climate change.

Felix avatar
Felix

The ending was a cop-out and not set up at all by the rest of the story.

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Blake

**SPOILERS** I think if taken literally, the end would certainly be a cop-out, but I think Schrader was going for something more cerebral and metaphorical. I think the fantastical sequence earlier with Toller and Mary lying atop each other is a hint that not everything is what it seems, along ...Read more

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Matthew

This film speaks directly to those of us who have lost the hope we once held to be indestructable.

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Marcy

ITA. Succinct and on point, Matthew.

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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

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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

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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

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Bruce

A measured review, James. I was engrossed from start to finish and found Hawke's and Cedric's performances memorable as well as ironic. Also gave 4 stars. Unlike the Green New Deal rolled out this week it provoked no laughter.

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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.

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Marcy

Thanks for that suggestion. Just read Schraders' interview on Vulture. Ending is totally different now. Doesn't change the beauty.

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kay louise

Mary, I really appreciate your insightful comments!

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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Gary

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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kay louise

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Vicki avatar
Vicki

David, what do you mean "dutch reform?" Where was the indication that the big church was that?

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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Mary

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

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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

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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

Vicki avatar
Vicki

Me too, Kay!!! What was that all about? And it would have hurt even worse to be kissing/pressing against someone!! Ouch! I know I'm minimizing the symbolism or whatever, but now what? AND.....Just how did she find a way into his office when Cedric found all doors locked? Hmmmm…..

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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.