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What is it to have faith, Paul Schrader’s haunting, meditative drama asks, luring audiences into a dreamlike spiritual journey in avant-garde exploration of the disharmony between modern religion and biblical teachings. This artful collision of good intentions turned awry and infectious melancholia pulsates with themes of despair, environmentalism, ailment and self-loathing, lead by a naked knockout of a performance from Ethan Hawke. Reminiscent of Taxi Driver (which Schrader wrote), First Reformed is an arthouse miracle of filmmaking and one of the most impactful, poignant, thought-provoking movies about faith ever made. (A)

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