6.0/10
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2 user 37 critic

First Reformed (2017)

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion.

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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(as Cedric Kyles)
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Edward Balq
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Michael
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Roger
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Esther
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Balqs' Son
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Youth Choir Member
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John Elder
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Sheriff
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Cynthia
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Middle-Aged Man
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War Vet
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Repair Man
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Storyline

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing violent images
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Details

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Release Date:

2 September 2017 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Writer/director Paul Schrader stated in an interview this film would be different from what he has ever done, calling it a film more in the vein of Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thought-Provoking, Unsettling Character Study
6 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Paul Schrader's new drama "First Reformed" is a drama about a grieving reverend who is counseling a couple--the husband of which is a radical environmentalist. This is a talky, dialogue- driven, and unsettling thriller that makes you both empathize with its characters as well as send a chill down your spine at times.

The film's deeply intellectual and serious commentary on matters of religion and environmentalism is profound and thoughtful. This movie will likely not be suited for mainstream audiences desiring cheap entertainment, but serious viewers looking to be challenged in their thought processes will have much material to ponder during--and after--they view the movie. The acting is very strong, as Schrader commands his cast into giving low-key but quietly powerful and resonant performances. The standouts in the cast are Ethan Hawke's lead role as well as Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer in the supporting cast. A gripping, dark (almost relentlessly so at times) tone keeps the viewer engrossed in the film. While this isn't a horror film (despite containing disturbing content and moments,) the film's simple score is incredibly chilling and gets under one's skin more than almost any other film's score I have witnessed in a long time.

My only complaints about this film are found in the third act. A dreamlike, surrealistic scene inspired by impressionism that involves the protagonist and Seyfried's character feels out of place given the grim tone deeply rooted in realism. Additionally, a quick and highly abrupt cut in the film's finale feels disappointing and almost like the equivalent of a 'cop-out' in film editing. It did not positively impact how I viewed the film's ending. But other than these concerns, this is a very well-made and serious drama designed to quietly shock audiences into a state of reflection on the world today as we know it. 8/10


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