FIRST REFORMED
2018, A24, 108 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Writer-director Paul Schrader’s gripping thriller tackles a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political and planetary. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence.


THE LAST WORD
2017, Bleecker Street, 108 min, USA, Dir: Mark Pellington

Shirley MacLaine is Harriet Lauler, a once successful businesswoman in tight control of every aspect of her life. As she reflects upon her accomplishment, she's suddenly inspired to engage a young local writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), to pen her life's story. When the initial result doesn’t meet Harriet's high expectations, she sets out to reshape the way she is remembered, with Anne dragged along as an unwilling accomplice. As the journey unfolds, the two women develop a unique bond which alters not only Harriet’s legacy, but also Anne’s future.


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