I’ve said many times before that I was basically raised in Church. However, I struggle with my faith, and it’s a constant logic battle in my head. I hear someone like my mom talk about what she feels and experiences in a church service, and I just don’t feel that. For me, a good thought provoking film can be a religious experience that rivals what she describes. As a result, I’m particuarly attracted to (secular) films about a crisis of faith because they’re so thought provoking for me. Throw in what seemed like it’d be a career high performance from Ethan Hawke, and I was sold.
Hawke plays the reverend at a small historic church that’s affiliated with a mega church down the street. While dealing with his own doubts and inability to connect with God, he meets a young couple from his congregation. The husband is an activist for environmental issues, and the hopelessness of our planet’s situation coupled with his wife’s pregnancy has sent him into a deep despair. His crisis fuels the doubts and fears that Hawke is experiencing, throwing him into an even deeper spiral.
This film was incredibly absorbing, and yes thought provoking as I expected. Hawke certainly delivers one of the best performances of his career, between being in practically every frame (often in tight closeup) plus the verse dense dialog he’s dealt. Right around when we were reaching the third act, it did get a lil weird and start dragging. However the ending left me shook. I’m still trying to process what it was that happened and what it all means for the film. That are the moments I watch movies for.
First Reformed – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n