Poor Cow


Poor Cow

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Reviews Counted: 15

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 292


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Young mother Joy is forced to fend for herself when her brutal and uncaring husband, Tom, is put in jail. Joy finds brief happiness with Tom's criminal associate Dave, who proves kind and gentle when she moves in with him, but this relationship ends when he is also jailed, and Joy is left to raise her young son alone in squalid circumstances.


Critic Reviews for Poor Cow

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8)

  • If I hadn't seen Poor Cow with my own eyes, I would never have believed that a film with so much to offer could ultimately be so downright awful.

    Mar 20, 2018 | Full Review…

    Richard Roud

    Top Critic
  • This has to be seen on the big screen.

    Jun 23, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • A time-capsule character study of great warmth and compassion.

    Jun 20, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • An argument can certainly be made for sex in movies that try to approach seriously the problems of the young; and this one, which begins so frankly with maternity, seems to have become quite nervous about things physical right after the credits came on.

    Mar 14, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In the end, the few good moments (as when the girl tends bar, cares for her child and shares confidences with Terence Stamp) are lost in the mess of everything else.

    Mar 14, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Despite its scruffy scene and downhill theme, Poor Cow is not really another of England's angry proletarian tragedies. The film tells its story with humanity that is never sentimental and humor that never jokes.

    Mar 14, 2015 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Poor Cow

Director Ken Loach's first feature is an insightful but somewhat shapeless portrait of a vivacious young woman (Carol White) struggling to raise a baby in a dingy English neighborhood. Within the opening minutes, her husband is sent to prison after a bungled robbery. She soon latches onto a second man (Terence Stamp) but, unfortunately, he too has been pressed into a life of crime. He is more sensitive to her needs but also is sentenced before long, which means Stamp fans may be frustrated with his lack of screen time. From there, our heroine takes a job in a rowdy pub, dabbles in cheesecake modeling and tries to fill her relationship void with casual lovers. There is no moral lesson here -- this is just how a woman on her own manages to stay afloat. The story fades out inconclusively. Donovan provides a few tunes for the soundtrack (Stamp himself sings "Colours"), and various other pop songs are heard throughout -- almost as if a crew member's transistor radio is randomly playing in the background. The effect is a bit ragged, and further shaky elements include the girl's sporadic narration, an odd decision to close with a documentary-style interview and some awkward title cards that rarely add useful information. The lighting often seems too warm and pleasing for the story's gritty tone, but an initial childbirth scene and an overgenerous amount of toddler nudity add some controversy. "Poor Cow" usually gets lumped with its era's "kitchen-sink" movement, but there are much better examples of the genre to seek out.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


Interesting older movie. Main character, Joy, manages to be equally sympathetic and unlikeable! You watch this girl make one bad choice after another, yet the consequences aren't quite as bad as you are waiting for. In one way it is good, she is a stupid girl, but you can't seriously wish bad on her, even when she kind of deserves it. On the other, you wait for a culmination of her actions which doesn't quite pay off. I guess it is lifelike in that way. On a shallow note, I enjoyed the 60's hair and make up. Very glam too look at, even though the story was definitely not!

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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