First Reformed (2017) Review
It's unsurprising for A24 to deliver a weird and confusing movie, considering they have premiered some of the craziest and most unique films. First Reformed has bugged many with its disturbing plot and questionable ending. It spanned with so many theories and analyses on Youtube.
The movie follows Ernst Toller, a pastor of the First Reformed church in rural New York. He struggles with his faith. He notes his experiences in a journal that he promised to write in a year and then burn it.
The church where he serves is old but has a ton of history. Recently, it has faced some issues about people not attending as usual. To address this, the church became a tourist attraction. Toller, the sole pastor, struggles with his alcoholism and the death of his son Joseph. He seeks a deeper understanding of his faith by reading books and getting support from an evangelical ministry called Abundant Life, which also owns First Reformed.
Pastor Toller's stereotypical life is turned around when he is approached by Mary, the wife of a radical environmentalist protester named Michael. She seeks counseling for her husband, who wants to abort their child because he thinks the world will be unfit due to climate change. Michael does not want his child to experience the harsh effects of climate disaster.
Mary soon discovers Michael's suicidal vest and reports it to Toller. He confiscates the vest and promises to counsel him. However, Michael texts him before their appointment, asking to meet at a local park. Toller arrives to find him dead after shooting himself with a shotgun. After fulfilling Michael's will by dumping his ashes in a nearby toxic waste dump, Toller clashes with the polluting factory and treats it as a political act.
First Reformed is brought to life by the powerful acting performances of Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, and many more.
First Reformed is one of those movies that will leave you speechless after you watch it. It's like a never-ending plot with many interpretations; the incompleteness will leave you at your wit's end. It may look like a simple test-your-beliefs movie, but its story is more complex.
I like how the plot holes have a massive impact on the film's story. It's meant that way because it's intended to question, not to answer. As the movie pans to a dark screen showing the credits, it will leave you on your toes.
Even though the film may feel a little low-budget, like it was shot with minimal filters, its impact is delivered by the astounding performances of Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried.
A great 4.5 out of 5 stars.