First Reformed Movie Review by Sputnik

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. From writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; American Gigolo; Affliction) comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.

The movie wants to highlight climate change but it goes about it in such a ham handed way. The environmentalist Michael does not want to bring a child into this world because of climate change but he is planning to commit suicide bombing and he eventually kills himself. The pastor himself becomes so despaired about climate change that he is about to commit suicide bombing and kill people too.

The movie tries to bring up an important issue that the Church should be pro environment and speak out about climate change and what’s happening to the world but the execution is so horrible. There is an amateurish ham handed scene where Mary and the Reverend are on top of each other and levitate with the background of what’s happening to the world because of climate change. The final scene is so ridiculous.

Ethan Hawke was good as Reverend Ernst Toller. Amanda Seyfried was ok as Mary Mensana. Cedric Kyles was good as Pastor Joel Jeffers. Philip Ettinger was ok as Michael Mensana in a brief role. Michael Gaston was good as Edward Balq.

Screenplay and direction by Paul Schrader is horrible. The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. This horrible screenplay should not have been nominated for an Oscar. The movie is so boring and pretentious. Its like Paul decided that I will make a movie about climate change but he had no idea how to go about it. First Reformed is a confused, convoluted mess.


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