Sweetgrass (2009)


Critic Consensus: At once tender and unsentimental, Sweetgrass gracefully captures the beauty and hardships of a dying way of life.


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Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor continue their work capturing the stark beauty and danger of the Western landscape with this documentary. With only a soundtrack as narration, Sweetgrass tracks shepherds through Montana as they take their flocks on the long trek to the Beartooth Mountains. ~ Kimber Myers, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Sweetgrass

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (21)

If there's anything we can learn from the creatures here, it's that any day in which you don't get stripped of your coat or eaten by a bear is probably a good one.

Jul 22, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

There are audience rewards for sticking with the herd and its lonesome cowboys.

Jul 16, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Instead of rounding up information, this documentary about an arduous sheep drive across Montana is driven by the beauty of the landscape.

Jun 17, 2010

It's a gorgeous and, believe it or not, riveting documentary...about sheep.

May 21, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It may not be your thing, but Sweetgrass is unlike anything you'll see in a theater this year. It bravely strays from the flock.

Apr 23, 2010 | Rating: 4.5/5

Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor rigorously follow the cinema-verité creed: no sonorous Morgan Freeman voiceovers, no explanatory intertitles until the finale, just carefully observed reality.

Apr 15, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sweetgrass


"Sweetgrass" is a stunningly photographed documentary about the process of sheep farming in Montana. The movie keeps the human subjects at a distance, giving us little chance to really get to know any of them. Instead, the natural scenery and the sheep are the true stars here and the one who looks directly into the camera knows that. In fact, he would like to file a complaint with his union representative about the working conditions. Yeah about that. Not much has changed in this profession since the 19th century. The cowboys still ride horses, camp out under the stars and rely on dogs for a lot of help in keeping the sheep in line. Cell phones are about the only indication that this is now the 21st century. And I should warn those of you expecting lots and lots of footage of cute sheep roaming around the mountains that there is a gruesome shot of an eviscerated sheep which speaks to the difficulty and frustration for the cowboys which is expressed in the most colorful language heard since "Deadwood" went off the air.

Walter M.
Walter M.

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