First Cow - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

First Cow Reviews

July 10, 2020
"First Cow" is a wonderfully unhurried film, which may be why it is so captivating. It allows viewers to sink in and absorb the story and its setting.
July 9, 2020
I've said this before about Reichardt's films, and for whatever reason I feel the need to say it again. "First Cow" will strike some viewers as too little in terms of dramatic machinery. Whatever.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
March 13, 2020
A small story [that] also inspires awe.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 13, 2020
First Cow is especially accomplished in its aesthetic...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
March 11, 2020
"First Cow" is as confident and organic as storytelling gets - as rough-edged as it is in style, it's absurdly rich in ripple effect.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 11, 2020
We might go into a Kelly Reichardt movie thinking we'll be told a story, but we emerge with our consciousness subtly and radically altered.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
March 11, 2020
Think of it more as one of those examples of how you can learn more from fiction than fact, because the movie tells us a lot about the origins of a nascent culture - country, really (ours), and the people within it (us).
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
March 10, 2020
"First Cow" is the real thing, a genuine work of art. But for too much of its running time, it's agonizingly slow, and the story is almost entirely without suspense.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
March 9, 2020
You hold your breath and convince yourself that the inevitable isn't arriving. And all Reichardt offers to comfort you is a remarkable quiet.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
March 8, 2020
A resonant, funny and quite moving shaggy cow story.
March 7, 2020
This haunting movie transports you to another world - and redefines home.
March 6, 2020
It's so many different kinds of movie at once. It has this incredibly rich sense of place and its economic echoes are so relevant today.
March 6, 2020
[Director] Kelly Reichardt is really probing at questions about the American identity and she does that so well in First Cow -- my favorite of her films now.
March 6, 2020
Kelly Reichardt's manifest-destiny epic in D minor...gives you the feeling that you've just witnessed a major work from a great American filmmaker.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
March 6, 2020
It is somehow both brutal and pastoral, peaceful and laced through with the inevitability of disaster and death.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
March 5, 2020
You'll need to slow your breathing to sync up, or more likely, down with the movie's tempo, but Reichardt rewards your patience with a profound experience that lingers in memory.
March 5, 2020
Some movies feel dead from the first shot, with or without star power, spectacular vistas or the false energy of hurtling pace. First Cow is vividly alive on arrival and grows into pure enchantment.
March 5, 2020
The joys of "First Cow" are many. The thoughtful, unshowy textures of its clothes and surroundings. The fabulous chemistry of its two leads. The softly stirring guitar of William Tyler's score.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
March 4, 2020
A story about the power of money in a world where money hardly seems useful. The power it accumulates is like a runaway train, snowballing and steamrolling the delicate webs of connection that humans so tentatively spin.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
March 4, 2020
While it fits perfectly into the larger framework of Reichardt's filmography, it also stands alone in rare, iconoclastic beauty.
March 4, 2020
The deep, lingering ache of "First Cow" comes from the realization that, even in a world still in the process of being formed, its cruel divisions have already been carved so deep.
March 4, 2020
A parable of economics and politics, with shrewd insights into the workings of supply and demand, scarcity and scale and other puzzles of the marketplace, the movie is also keenly attuned to details of history, both human and natural.
March 2, 2020
Reichardt films the workingmen's friendship and their frustrated strivings sympathetically, and observes with dismay the official's domineering ways and pretentious airs, but she reduces the protagonists to stick figures in a deterministic landscape.
February 27, 2020
It's hard not to view Kelly Reichardt's film as a poetic blueprint for modern America.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
February 22, 2020
Kelly Reichardt gives us a terrifically tough and sinewy tale of the old west, shaped by the brutally implacable market forces of capitalism.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
February 22, 2020
With First Cow, Kelly Reichardt, America's foremost chronicler of small stories rooted in meticulously-crafted geographical expanses, has delivered another slowburn heartbreaker.
February 22, 2020
[A] stealthy, resonant, and finally riveting tale...
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
September 3, 2019
King-Lu and Cookie need each other...and First Cow commiserates with their journey in a kind-hearted fashion that allows the movie to resonate with more warmth than it initially lets on.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
August 31, 2019
While not a lot happens in First Cow by the standards of most two-hour narrative films, and some may wish for a less open-ended conclusion, the drama's rough-edged lyricism kept me rapt the entire time.
August 31, 2019
Reichardt specializes in pared-down narratives, sometimes stripping away so much that boredom sets in. "First Cow" may be lean, but it offers ample room to ruminate in the comparison between its two time periods.