COW (2021): The Things I Liked…

Cow (2021), IFC Films

Moved and shocked are the words that best explain how I feel about director Andrea Arnold’s Cow, a film that looks closely at the daily lives of two cows.

My curiosity about a cow’s day-to-day and the fact that I’ve always considered them one of the cutest animals are my two reasons for watching. 

How far from easy and relatively short the dairy cow’s life is are the elements that moved me most, even more so because both realities happen to be exacerbated by humans.

The fact that there’s no explanation of what’s going on as you watch is part of what makes Arnold’s film particularly engaging. The camera captures what happens and leaves you to deal with how it makes you feel. 

I’m sure that the most empathetic are those likely to find Cow the most difficult to watch. 

As empathetic as I generally am – a truth I know because I cry at many movies, Cow didn’t lead to my own tears. In some ways, I found Arnold’s film strangely calming, a quality I’m sure that the almost complete absence of dialogue and a musical score contributed to.

Besides the moment past the halfway point when I thought the film started to feel too long and repetitive, I say watch Cow if you’re curious, and let it surprise you. 

Cow (2021), IFC Films
Cow (2021), IFC Films

Some random thoughts that may enter your mind as you watch Cow include:

I never imagined that the sight of fully engorged udders could be quite so overwhelming.

Considering the obvious heft of the cow frame, it’s almost surprising how quickly they can move.

This one is a film that lends itself perfectly to a screening followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.

Please do share any other thoughts in the comments, whether or not you’ve already seen, or plan to see Cow, and so on.

Happy Film Loving


10 thoughts on “COW (2021): The Things I Liked…”

  1. I’m pleased and interested by your reaction, I’ve decided not to watch this as I find intense dairy farming just too upsetting!

  2. I don’t think I can watch this one. Just looking at the first picture on your post and I know I’m going to wind up a sobbing mess.

  3. I got so many emails to watch this one – yet I felt that as someone who eats meat sometimes – I would feel guilty!!! I love the that you love cows!! One of my closest friends grew up on a dairy farm in No. California so I’ve been to dairy land quite a few times – and it’s very smelly! hahahahahaa but the little cows are so cute and I’ve fed one before.. I’m glad it was cute though!

    1. I completely understand where you’re coming from, Peggy. Part of my love for cows is because on a family visit to the dairy farm many years ago, then 11 year old me watched as my 4 year old little brother very happily stuck his hand into a calf’s mouth. I of course was fully grossed out by watching this. But the joy on my little brother’s face as the calf covered his hand and some of his forearm in calf drool! 😁

      1. Crazily I too have done this. A friend grew up on a farm in No. California & took me there and that was one of the things I ‘tried’ the milking of the cows though – I couldn’t do. It scared me too much! ha! I have to say it was weird.. had I been 4 – I might’ve felt differently, but as a grown up, it was just weird. ha!

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