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First Reformed (2017)

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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
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2,092 ( 281)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 56 wins & 93 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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Taglines:

The kingdom come undone. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | UK | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

First Reformed See more »

Filming Locations:

Hicksville, 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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Schrader was motivated to write the screenplay based on his despair at the effect of climate change on the planet. See more »

Goofs

In each of the cafe scenes at the mega church, the coffee cups still have the manufacturer stickers on the bottoms. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Reverend Ernst Toller: I have decided to keep a journal. Not in a word program or digital file, but in longhand, writing every word out so that every inflection of penmanship, every word chosen, scratched out, revised, is recorded. To set down all my thoughts and the simple events of my day factually and without hiding anything. When writing about oneself, one should show no mercy. I will keep this diary for one year; 12 months. And at the end of that time, it will be destroyed. Shredded, then burnt. The...
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Connections

References Winter Light (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Who's Going to Stand Up and Save the Earth
Written by Neil Young
Published by Silver Fiddle Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Ronald Peet, Juliet Schlefer, Olivia Rose Cohenher (as Olivia Rose Cohen), Eric Lockley
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User Reviews

 
Thought-Provoking, Unsettling Character Study
6 October 2017 | by bastille-852-731547See 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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