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.
"Paul Schrader’s best for 20 years. A stunning study of one man’s flaws and an apocalyptic vision of mankind’s fate." - Total Film
"It’s a remarkable addition to the small but growing canon of American films that aren’t afraid to stare straight into an abyss with all of the implications — moral, ethical, political, and religious — that are required for this moment in our history. First Reformed is a confounding stunner of a movie and richly deserves our full, serious attention." - Vox
"At once ruminative and shocking, godwardly inclined and repellently graphic, First Reformed is indisputably the finest film Schrader has directed since his sensitive adaptation of Russell Banks’s novel 'Affliction.'" - Washington Post
"A stunning, enrapturing film, a crowning work by one of the American cinema’s most essential artists." - RogerEbert.com
"It is the portrait of a soul in torment, all the more powerful for being so rigorously conceived and meticulously executed." - The New York Times
"Schrader’s film is a wise, shocking, intellectually prodigious masterpiece. It’s a classic Schrader slow burn that seems to reach, in its final moments, for the impossible." - Vanity Fair