‘First Reformed,’ ‘On Chesil Beach,’ ‘Cold Water’ and other movie picks for May 18

Ethan Hawke in a scene from “First Reformed.” Credit: A24
Ethan Hawke in a scene from “First Reformed.”

Movie recommendations from critics Justin Chang, Kenneth Turan and other reviewers.

Cold Water Never before released in the U.S. due to music-rights clearance issues, French writer-director Olivier Assayas’ breakthrough 1994 feature about youthful rebellion can now be seen in all its bracing, emotionally raw glory. (Justin Chang) NR.

First Reformed A conflicted reverend (a superb Ethan Hawke) undergoes a profound crisis of faith in Paul Schrader’s soul-searching, career-resurrecting drama, a tribute to the contemplative cinema of Robert Bresson and Yasujiro Ozu that nonetheless moves to the pulse of a thriller. (Justin Chang) R.

The Guardians An intimate French epic directed by quiet visionary Xavier Beauvois, it is elegantly made and quietly emotional, a family story filled with characters whose lives we sink into, feeling the hope, the sadness, the sorrow and the joy right along with those on the screen. Nathalie Baye stars. (Kenneth Turan) R.


Let the Sunshine In Juliette Binoche gives a marvelous performance as a middle-aged divorcée looking for love in all the wrong places, but Claire Denis’ exquisite and soulful romantic comedy defies every expectation of that premise. (Justin Chang) NR

On Chesil Beach A beautifully made film about the fraught honeymoon of a young couple who are very much in love and very much at sea, it reunites novelist Ian McEwan (“Atonement”) and luminous star Saoirse Ronan, under the able and discreet direction of Dominic Cooke. (Kenneth Turan) R.

A Quiet Place John Krasinski’s thrillingly intelligent post-apocalyptic horror movie, in which he stars with Emily Blunt as a couple trying to protect their family from monsters that hunt by sound, is walking-on-eggshells cinema of a very high order. (Justin Chang) PG-13

Revenge French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat tears into the rape revenge genre with a startling ferocity in her debut feature, a violent and hallucinatory acid trip for the senses that asserts a feminist perspective in this historically exploitative and misogynistic arena. (Katie Walsh) R


The Rider Brady Jandreau, a Lakota cowboy from South Dakota, enacts a version of his own harrowing story of loss and recovery in writer-director Chloé Zhao’s stunningly lyrical western, a seamless and deeply moving blend of narrative and documentary film techniques. (Justin Chang) R

RBG One of the great services that this clear-eyed and admiring documentary on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg provides is to emphasize not just her work on the court but how extraordinarily influential she was before she even got there. (Kenneth Turan) NR

Zama The Argentine writer-director Lucrecia Martel makes a welcome return to feature filmmaking with this feverishly brilliant tale of European colonialism and its discontents, starring a superb Daniel Giménez Cacho as a Spanish magistrate in late 18th century Paraguay. (Justin Chang) NR

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