First Reformed (Paul Schrader – 2017) A-

Ethan Hawke is father Toller, a priest in a historic small church in upstate New York. He drinks a bit much, is ill, has a dark history but seems like a good guy who is doing his best for the few parishioners who come in. Sure, he does not get nearly as many of those as the megachurch down the street but he’s doing ok. His beliefs, faith and world views come into collision and chaos when Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to talk to her husband. She is pregnant, but the husband does not think they should bring a baby into this world that is surely going to be a wasteland if climate change keeps going the way it is going. Toller starts talking to the young man and does not do so well…The character of Toller reminded me a lot of Travis Bickle, from (also written by Paul Schrader) Taxi Driver. He is teetering at the edge, carrying a lot of baggage, guilt and anger. Where it all leads is shocking and weirdly sweet at the same time. Few movies deal with the subject of religion and faith so well.

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