First Cow (2020) - Rotten Tomatoes

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 (89) | Top Critics (28)

A small story [that] also inspires awe.

March 13, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

First Cow is especially accomplished in its aesthetic...

March 13, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"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.

March 11, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

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.

March 11, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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).

March 11, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

"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.

March 10, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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