Anchored by a powerful performance from Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED looks at the intersection of religion and science, the environment and God. What is our responsibility to look after what God has made? I didn’t know what to expect coming into the theater, but it definitely wasn’t this. I thought it would be a pastor struggling with his beliefs, but not in this way.

A pregnant woman named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) to counsel her environmental activist husband. Toller becomes entangled with their lives while also dealing with arrangements for his church’s 250th Anniversary celebration. Saying any more would ruin some of the surprises along the way, most of which I absolutely loved. The movie is also shot so statically, it becomes almost hypnotic, drawing you into each conversation. 

Movies that end up on my Best of the Best lists usually are pleasant surprises, indie movies that start off one way, but keep getting crazier and crazier (see: RAW). FIRST REFORMED falls under that category, as it brings up many philosophical questions, asking tough queries of both science and religion. It’s so refreshing to see a movie so simple, so effective in the summer movie blockbuster season. This is a challenging movie, asking for a lot of patience, but the reward is so fulfilling and powerful.


(Refer to my rating system HERE!)