See It at the Movies

FIRST REFORMED

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FIRST REFORMED

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(Sad tale of faith, despair & activism)

Ethan Hawke stars as a troubled minister of a dying upper New York state church who is questioning his faith and purpose.

At first, we thought we were watching a faith-based movie, but soon learned that this independent film was dealing head on with the struggles of religious beliefs in a secular world.

The minister counsels an environmental activist who does not want his wife (Amanda Seyfried) to bring their baby into a troubled, dying world. When the man commits suicide, he is loaded with grief and guilt.

The small, historic church is celebrating its 250th anniversary, helped by the nearby Abundant Life Church and its savvy minister (Cedric the Entertainer), whose demeanor and success overwhelm the small, dying church. The minister is also dying, ignoring his illness, drinking heavily and writing his confused thoughts in a diary. The movie moves slowly toward its conclusion, as the troubled man faces a major decision.

This is one of those rare movies that will leave you thinking about your own faith and values. It tries not to take sides, but does question the role of religion in preserving the environment at all costs.

Rated R, with some profanity.

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