First Cow

First Cow

First Cow

John Magaro (The Big Short) and Orion Lee (A Brilliant Young Mind) are 19-century fur trappers out to make a fortune in this American drama from Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy), based on co-writer Jonathan Raymond's novel, The Half Life.

"A taciturn loner and skilled cook (Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (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." (New York Film Festival)

2020Rating: PG, Violence & coarse language121 minsUSA
Drama

First Cow / Reviews

Flicks

Flicks, Aaron Yap

Decidedly moulded from the revisionist anti-Western contours of a McCabe and Mrs. Miller, First Cow is a wonderful showcase of Reichardt’s invigoratingly clear-eyed and understated register. It’s a kind vision of a frontier dream that elegantly addresses class imbalance and the corrupting influence of colonialism and greed with wry, subtle humour and genuine empathy for its characters.

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Stuff

Stuff

A lyrical, beautifully performed and gently engrossing ballad of a film.

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Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Will strike some viewers as too little in terms of dramatic machinery. Whatever.

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Salon

Salon

A wonderfully unhurried film, which may be why it is so captivating.

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Film School Rejects

Film School Rejects

Someone clean up this milk before I start crying again.

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Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

The deliberate paces of Reichardt's storytelling do cast a sort of spell: a bittersweet comic absurdity, told in the rhythms of real life.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

Just don't mistake the lightness of step for a softness of philosophy.

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Screen Daily

Screen Daily

Perfectly made, perfectly acted and ultimately moving - a melancholy memory in miniature, a Daguerreotype of a distant time that may be more like our own than we know.

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IndieWire

IndieWire

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.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

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.

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Variety

Variety

Reichardt specialises 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.

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Slant Magazine

Slant Magazine

The sense of a nascent community rising up out of the primordial muck is palpable, so it's unfortunate that John Magaro and Orion Lee's characters ultimately feel outside it all.

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