First Reformed – Film Review

Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) is the ailing and troubled minister of First Reformed a  historically important church with a tiny congregation. He is counselling a parishoner Michael, who is an eco activist depressed about the state of the world and uncertain whether he and his wife Mary should bring a child into the world. Toller finds himself drawn more and more into Michael’s world view, becoming obsessed with Michael’s query ‘will God forgive us what we have done to the earth?’

As First Reformed approaches its 250th Anniversary reconsecration (bankrolled by a local businessman whose company flaunts its eco-credentials despite being listed as one of the most polluting companies on the planet) Toller becomes more and more ill and more and more troubled.

Can Toller find sanity and a constructive way to address environmental degradation within his role as a minister or will he finally go off the rails, taking others with him?

This is a finely acted drama that asks important questions about the church’s relationship with the earth and it’s attitude to consumerism, power and money. Not to mention how the church looks after her own people.

First Reformed is showing at the Edinburgh Filmhouse today and tomorrow.

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