page contents

Cedric Kyles

First Reformed

Paul Schrader presents us with a rare gift: a film that is equally serious about its material and its storytelling craft. Grappling with his faith, Rev. Toller’s (Ethan Hawke) existence becomes unhinged when the husband of a parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) commits suicide. Buoyed by strong performances—including Cedric the Entertainer as the head of an evangelical megachurch—First Reformed is Schrader’s strongest treatise on faith in film. Alternately introspective, shocking, and frank, it still retains a glimmer of hope. The film reminds us that doubt plays a certain role in faith and that even in the midst of despair, grace reveals itself.