Written by Jeff Sparks
Milk is an early short film from Andrea Arnold, that features a scarce performance from Lynda Steadman. It follows Steadman as Hetty, a woman expecting to give birth to her first child. Milk shows us the effects of the lack of a mother being able to nurture her child. After going through childbirth the film cuts to Hetty sitting in her bathtub. Steadman wears a look of emptiness. Informing us that she is without a child after returning from the hospital. Her breasts lactate milk down her chest, dripping down the drain. She is a lactating woman without a child to feed. Like a bee without honey.
Her husband isn’t as affected by the loss as he attempts to persuade her to go to the funeral to say goodbye. “I didn’t even get to say hello,” she responds. Escaping from her home, she meets a young man with an injured hand, and on seeing he’s alone she gives him advice on his injury the way a mother would. When the man leaves she jumps up, almost begging to tag along with him. She is either seeking escapism or more importantly holding onto someone she can care for. Driving down the open road, she leans her head out the window and feels the warm sun on her skin and the cool breeze running through her hair. She is free. She has escaped her dilemma and floated off the ground like an airplane, blowing through the sky like a feather. That is until the car pulls into a gas station and the cries of a baby bring her crashing back to the ground into a mess of twisted steel.
While downing a bottle of alcohol, Hetty and the young man begin to have sex in his car. Seeing he is nervous, she calms him and makes sure he feels safe, the way only a caring soul like a mother could. Afterward, the man lies on top of her chest, sucking her breast, revealing he too needed something out of a relationship that only an older woman could give him. Milk is a fine start for the career of Andrea Arnold. And is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her illustrious career of showing the interior lives of her characters and their struggles.
Milk Short Film