Hot Docs 2015 Review: Milk
With warmth and sensitivity, Milk explores breastfeeding around the world, from those that champion it to those who have no access to it.
This tender though confident film by Noemi Weis globe trots to hear stories, dispel stigmas, and fight against companies making money promoting unsafe formulas in spite of breastfeeding. Weis interviews women from around the world who open up to a topic most intimate and important, and something oft ignored or disregarded. There are those with little access to education and healthy options, while elsewhere there are women inundated with propaganda. Still other are shunned for their decisions.
Though sweeping in scope, the film also feels intimate to its great benefit. We travel to villages around the globe where women who can’t breastfeed have to seek it from other nursing women or failing that, are forced to buy only the cheapest substitute. There is a connection with everyone that is talked too, and that’s perhaps because they are so often seen with child.
Milk becomes a harsh criticism on the commercial baby food industry, but never at the expense of the deeply personal stories it tells, including those of women who were subject to C-sections instead of natural births because of hospital efficiency. The doc also talks to a local politician who became the first woman in her position, and so when she became pregnant, there was no paid leave or family plan in place.
It’s still the light, emotional touch that makes Milk refreshing, despite it’s disturbing revelations. It never diminishes those it interviews, and looks to bring together everyone for an important cause instead of trying to create unnecessary friction. This exploration of childbirth and motherhood pairs lyrical beauty with poignant information, infusing stories and one particular powerful piece of poetry to tell an important message.