The First Wave (2021) - Rotten Tomatoes

The First Wave (2021)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The First Wave Videos

Movie Info

With exclusive access inside one of New York's hardest hit hospital systems during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, Oscar (R)-nominated and Emmy (R) Award-winning director Matthew Heineman's THE FIRST WAVE spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in our society. Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman embeds with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, THE FIRST WAVE is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.


Critic Reviews for The First Wave

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (11)

This is war reportage. But unpacking the metaphor of battle, so casually thrown around in the past 21 months, is part of the film's value.

November 25, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

[A] gripping, powerful documentary...

November 24, 2021 | Full Review…

This remarkable film feels like it could become a time capsule, showing future generations what it felt like in 2020 for those on the frontline.

November 23, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There is no way to watch "The First Wave" without being rattled by the persistent loss of life.

November 18, 2021 | Full Review…

It's agonizing to witness the degree of suffering that this movie documents, all the more so because the pandemic is still ongoing.

November 18, 2021 | Full Review…

"The First Wave" feels simultaneously hard to watch and vital, tragic and uplifting, like a backward glimpse over our shoulder at a period of conflict and struggle - in more ways than one - that we're not quite done living through yet.

November 17, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews

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