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First Reformed (2017)

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A priest 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
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Popularity
695 ( 148)
4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethan Hawke ... Toller
Amanda Seyfried ... Mary
Cedric the Entertainer ... Jeffers (as Cedric Antonio Kyles)
Victoria Hill ... Esther
Philip Ettinger ... Michael
Michael Gaston ... Balq
Bill Hoag ... Elder
Kristin Villanueva ... Nurse
Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz ... Middle-Aged Tourist
Ken Forman ... Middle-Aged Man (as Ken Foreman)
Christopher Dylan White ... College Student
Frank Rodriguez ... Sheriff
Gary Lee Mahmoud ... Doctor
Joseph Anthony Jerez ... War Vet in Wheelchair (as Joseph Jerez)
Sue Jean Kim ... Suriya
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Storyline

Forty-six year old Reverend Ernst Toller is the pastor at the historic First Reformed Church in upstate New York. It is seen as the "tourist" church or the "souvenir shop" (its historical significance partly it being a stop on the underground railroad before the slaves crossed into Canada) by Abundant Life, which owns the church and which operates a modern self-named five thousand seat church overseen by Reverend Joel Jeffers. First Reformed is celebrating its two hundred fiftieth anniversary this year, for which a major event is planned, modest in size only at First Reformed itself although the dignitaries like the governor and mayor will be at attendance there, while the event will be simulcast at Abundant Life. Most of the speech-making will be done by local industrialist Ed Balq, a major benefactor of Abundant Life and who is the major donor for the necessary upgrades at First Reformed to be able to hold the event there, and for the event itself, while Toller's participation will ... Written by Huggo

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

First Reformed See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$97,562, 20 May 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,448,256, 2 August 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was slated for a straight-to-DVD release in France on September 25, 2018, but delayed a month to October 23. See more »

Goofs

Toller references the Biblical Book of "Revelations." There is no book by this name in the Bible; it's called "Revelation," with no "s" on the end. No clergyman would ever make this mistake. See more »

Quotes

Reverend Ernst Toller: Courage is the solution to despair, reason provides no answers. I can't know what the future will bring, We have to choose despite uncertainty. Wisdom is holding two contradictory truths in our mind, simultaneously, Hope and despair. A life without despair is a life without hope. Holding these two ideas in our head is life itself.
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Soundtracks

Are You Washed in the Blood
Written by Elisha A. Hoffman
Performed by Julia Murney, Ronald Peet, Elanna White, Jake Alden-Falconer, Eric Lockley, Krystina Alabado
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User Reviews

 
Very overrated. I expected so much more from this film!
23 June 2018 | by nadomaya-127-423963See all my reviews

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 42-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!" Sadly, it's not a film I can recommend.


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