Tortured by the loss of a son he encouraged to enlist in the armed forces, a church minister and ex-military chaplain (Ethan Hawke) struggles with his faith when a pregnant woman (Amanda Seyfried) and her radical environmentalist husband come to him for counselling. A major return to form for Paul Schrader that is partly informed by his script for Taxi Driver (First Reformed includes the act of diary writing and dipping bread in whiskey), his Calvinist roots and his filmic obsession with Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest. This is a riveting and profound portrait of faith in a world that seems to be in a state of dangerous flux.
Listen to our review of First Reformed in our July film podcast. The chat starts at the 0.30 mark!