10 Best Movies We Saw at 2017 Toronto Film Festival

From Louis C.K.'s cringe-comedy to a female coming-of-age movie, a tennis-coach doc to 'The Disaster Artist' – our picks for the best of the fest

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'First Reformed'
10
3/10

'First Reformed'

A conflicted man of the cloth (Ethan Hawke, doing the best non-Linklater work of his career) tends to a small-town chapel in upstate New York, a megachurch-sponsored relic of better, holier days. Then he meets a committed environmental activist – the kind that doesn't mind dying for what he believes in – and his world begins to tilt off its faith-based axis. If you'd told us that one of the best movies we'd see at the fest would be writer-director Paul Schrader combining a scrupulous homage to Robert Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest with an eco-thriller, we'd have told you to go to hell. But damned if this premise doesn't bring out a surprising discipline and rigor in the veteran filmmaker, as well as some offbeat moments (and in one hallucinogenic sequence, a literal flight of fancy) that expand on his lifelong thematic, spirit-versus-flesh preoccupations. And you will argue about the meaning of that woozy last shot until your dying days.

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