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.
“The movie’s conclusion pits religion against personal desire in remarkably visceral terms.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE
“In First Reformed, Paul Schrader courts respectability and leaves it in the dust, getting stoned on excess. But make no mistake: He’s still one hell of a filmmaker.” – Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY
“Paul Schrader has always been a faith-based filmmaker in the truest and most challenging sense, and First Reformed is the sort of stimulating work that a writer-director of a certain age can deliver when he returns to his creative sweet spot; rejoice, Schrader fans, rejoice.” – Alsonso Duralde, THE WRAP