Funny Cow

2017

Funny Cow (2017)

TOMATOMETER

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Critic Consensus: Funny Cow rests almost entirely on Maxine Peake's performance -- which proves more than capable of shouldering the weight of this affecting period drama.

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Maxine Peake gives a formidable performance as an aspiring female comedian standing up to a violent husband and the sexist Northern England club circuit. If you think that modern comedy is still lacking in gender equality, then this tough, streetwise British film shows that it's also made giant strides since the in-your-face chauvinism of working men's clubs in decades past. And yet, ill-treatment by men is something our eponymous heroine is grimly used to, from childhood beatings to an abusive husband (scriptwriter Tony Pitts, on terrifying form). More a film about the power of laughter and how to transform pain into humour than a straight-up comedy, Funny Cow is a fitting showcase for Peake. So often dazzling on stage and television, she's hilarious and heart-breaking here. There's fine support too from cast-against-type Paddy Considine as her middle-class paramour and a swooning, melancholic soundtrack by Richard Hawley.

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Critic Reviews for Funny Cow

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (2)

One of those intriguing but raggedy films that ultimately adds up to less than the sum of its promising parts ...

Oct 23, 2017 | Full Review…

There is no moral, and in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, there is no hugging, no learning. There is just a hypnotically belligerent performance from [Maxine] Peake, whose anti-heroine explodes like a firework, burning herself to an ashy crisp.

Oct 11, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's grim, and has bite. Unapologetically northern, Funny Cow authentically presents experiences of working-class life from post-war Britain (when a bathtub in the yard is a pool) through to the '70s.

Feb 14, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Its grimy 70s and 80s attitudes make it wince-inducing. Maxine Peake is extraordinary, Alun Armstrong is washed-up perfection. The smoking and hairspray alone mean it's no wonder we spent that time obsessed with spontaneous human combustion.

Nov 12, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Maxine Peake is fine and all as a performer but there's not much else to enjoy.Funny Cow...doesn't translate well in the States.

Oct 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Peake's layered, all-or-nothing performance is undoubtedly the glue that holds this scrappy little film together.

Sep 8, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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