If you don't care about fashion there is another issue that unfolds fascinatingly over the course of the film: whether the theme of "the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion" is actually a celebration of Orientalism.
Alison Willmore, BuzzFeed News, 2016-05-04
Gorgeous, gossipy, yet penetrating documentary about the marriage of culture and commerce.
Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, 2016-04-28
There are many deliciously revealing moments, including discussions about who will sit where at the gala - there has to be a celebrity at every table - and whether Vogue can afford to pay Rihanna twice the usual fee to entertain the guests.
Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail, 2016-04-22
Will lights and hardware be ready? Can they afford the $200K demanded by headliner Rihanna? The viewer's pulse may rise, too, as Rossi's camera roams frantic hallways, offices and limos.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2016-04-21
It's very inside baseball about the inner workings of a fashion event. That said, there's a delicious depiction of fashion as fantasy that's worth the price of admission.
Elizabeth Wellington, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2016-04-15
The movie has been smartly built to satisfy hardcore fashionistas and red-carpet gawkers in equal measure.
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 2016-04-14
Debates about how best to represent both fashion and China - with the likes of Baz Luhrmann and Wong Kar-wai weighing in - are provocative and useful. But Rihanna walking the red carpet in an Asian-inspired ensemble is fine art in motion.
Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 2016-04-14
It's a film that effectively combines two distinct - and very different - pleasures.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2016-04-14
"The First Monday in May" isn't a deep examination of its subjects, but at least it's breathtaking to look at.
Stephanie Merry, Washington Post, 2016-04-14
[Rossi] effectively goes behind the scenes, capturing the complicated logistics that go into the creation of the exhibition and its accompanying gala. The former element provides the film's emotionally richest moments.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter, 2016-04-13
Anyone intrigued by the fashion world will gain some understanding of the power players involved in this seminal showcase, which mostly just salutes their accomplishments using competent techniques.
Eric Kohn, indieWIRE, 2016-04-13
In ... subtle touches, the filmmaker most quietly, and convincingly, affirms fashion's legitimacy as an art form akin to that of other expressive mediums.
Nick Schager, Variety, 2016-04-13
The film's focus is too easily distracted by celebrity and turns less documentary and more fawning love letter to an industry already in love with itself.
Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic, 2016-04-21
The movie is sloppy: A section concerning Asian stereotypes discusses the vintage film star Anna May Wong, but indiscriminately includes images of Ona Munson in "The Shanghai Gesture." "First Monday" also coddles its interview subjects.
Glenn Kenny, New York Times, 2016-04-14
Rossi provides an attractive overview of the exhibition for those who did not attend it, but we are left feeling something like Wong, seeing a lot of pretty things surrounded by vapidity.
Abbey Bender, Village Voice, 2016-04-13