First Cow movie poster
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First Cow
First Cow movie poster

First Cow Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

How could a pleasantly quaint little movie about a couple of dudes who steal cow’s milk end up being one of the best movies of 2020? Two answers: 1. COVID. 2. It’s actually really good.

While not the kind of movie that would normally enthrall me, First Cow is a surprisingly absorbing drama that thrives on its kindness, its simplicity, its seemingly direct access to the human soul. From Kelly Reichardt, the movie didn’t at first hold my attention... because when I watch movies at home I have a nasty habit of multitasking. Religiously.

Not a ton happens early on in First Cow... that is, if you’re not paying attention. But if you close the laptop, chuck your phone across the room, and put that telegraph machine away, you’ll pick up on things like—yes—nuance, character development, and subtle details that, together, form a beautiful vision and a small but wholly realized world worth spending a couple of hours in.

John Magaro and Orion Lee are fantastic in their respective roles, the onscreen friendship you didn’t know you needed in this crazy year. Neither turn is the kind of head-pulling performance that generally garner much attention, but both slide into their roles like hands into weather gloves. They are simply perfect for the story at hand.

First Cow is a splendidly enjoyable drama. It’s quaint, and in other years may not be enthralling enough to play with the big boys, but in a pandemic-ravaged cinematic world, Reichardt proves all it takes is some milk, and some sugary biscuits, and a cow. Recommended.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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