Arnon Grunberg

New York


A.O. Scott called Paul Schrader's movie "First reformed" "an epiphany" and he is right.
The main character in this movie is named Ernst Toller, reverend Ernst Toller.
In 1939 the German (leftist) playwright Ernst Toller committed suicide in New York, something A.O. Scott didn't mention this. Richard Brody does mention it in the New Yorker but without paying much attention to it.

Read Scott's review here.

To me, the fact that the main character is called Ernst Toller weighs heavily upon this excellent movie. By evoking this name Mr. Schrader must had tried to create a link between the US in 2017 and Germany before World War II. The fight against all kinds of evil or wickedness, Mr. Schrader's Ernst Tolller is a reverend after all, is lost but there are moments of grace to be found. Grace here is cruel love. I would not want to call this a consolation, but we can at least try to live with cruel love.

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