First Cow

First Cow ★★★★½

Presented in such warm, comforting, melancholic beauty—Kelly Reichardt’s ode to American dream First Cow staggers in its emotional minimalism and pitch-perfect performances. It follows the unexpected friendship of a lonely trapper and a Chinese immigrant and their journey of building their own fried doughnut business. Reichardt’s sharp sense of place is prominent with its mossy, earthy frontier that builds enough character in its own. I love the focus on these marginalized characters who just want to make a space for themselves in a world that is not meant for them. This unlikely friendship between these two characters is almost homoerotic and ambiguous altogether but it makes you believe on their kindness and respect to one another. This pure relationship sells First Cow into a powerful, emotional catharsis.

The performances are so good and in tuned to Reichardt’s distinct tone. John Magaro and Orion Lee are match made in heaven. Magaro’s soft, innocent-like performance is too hard to ignore. Soft boys like him deserve a place in cinema. Lee’s presence is refreshing, as it is good to see a Chinese character in this early period in the movies without a bad accent. Overall, First Cow might be favorite Kelly Reichardt film after Wendy and Lucy. Its minimalism soars into a powerful note and for that, it’s unforgettable. A true comforting film for these times.

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