First Cow (2020) - Rotten Tomatoes

First Cow2020

First Cow (2020)

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Critic Consensus: First Cow finds director Kelly Reichardt revisiting territory and themes that will be familiar to fans of her previous work -- with typically rewarding results.

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Kelly Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early nineteenth century way of life. A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner's prized milking cow. From this simple premise Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt again shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America.

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Critic Reviews for First Cow

All Critics (210) | Top Critics (57)

It is touching, tender, original, entrancing, definitely the best cow film of the year. Plus it's also a quietly masterful thriller where a clafoutis (blueberry) will have you on the edge of your seat.

July 29, 2021 | Full Review…

Reichardt works in delicate movements as a storyteller. Magaro and Lee's wonderful chemistry keeps perfectly in step with the filmmaker.

July 23, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Never has a film about two losers and the platonic love they have for each other felt more moving or more engaging. Simply wonderful.

July 9, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A fable of land and freedom that serves as an up-close-and-personal portrait of friendship and a wider snapshot of America, rooted in the rich soil of the Pacific north-west.

May 31, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A Western, First Cow is sensual, bleak and meticulously authentic, reminiscent of McCabe & Mrs Miller, as well as Barry Lyndon.

May 28, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Reichardt, also the co-writer, delivers a patient and earnest parable about environmentalism, American destiny and the value of friendship.

May 28, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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