Milk in Movies: Why Do Characters Drink It?

Milk in Movies: Why Do Characters Drink It?

What a character chooses to drink
says a lot about them. – A martini, shaken, not stirred. If they get a shot of whiskey, they’re cool. If they order a fine chardonnay,
they’re probably trying to go for class. But there’s one drink used in cinema
that requires a bit of explanation. – I see you’re drinking one percent,
is that ’cause you think you’re fat? Probably the first thing that comes to mind
when you think of milk is youth and innocence. When a sixteen year old uses
his charm and grace to mimic being a pilot, we’re reminded of his age by his drink choice. – Would you like a drink after take-off? – Milk? In ‘A Clockwork Orange’, the adolescents drink milk, a gentle reminder that all this mayhem
is being caused by kids. James Dean famously nurses a bottle of milk
in such a way that we get a visual cue of his conflict between maturity and adulthood. Of course, if you don’t drink milk then you’re manly. – How tough am I? How tough am I?! I had a bowl of nails for breakfast this morning… – He, yeah. So? – …without any milk. – Uh, right this way. Sorry to keep you waiting. If you want to go for a deep reading,
you could say that Kevin spilling milk in ‘Home Alone’ is a symbol of his lack of maternal nourishment. Or you could say John Hughes just wanted the visual joke of everybody crying over spilled milk. But this only scratches the surface. Many adults also drink milk,
and that’s where it gets more complicated. Milk is a symbol of childishness so it’s humorous to see ‘Leon the Professional’, a hyper masculine assassin, drinking it throughout the movie. It fits into the comedic moments of the movie,
but it also sheds light on his maternal side as he takes Matilda under his wing. In this instance drinking milk is a joke,
but many times drinking milk has the opposite intent: It’s creepy. There’s something off about a grown man drinking milk, and filmmakers seem to be well aware of this intuition. In Hitchcock’s ‘Suspicion’,
the audience suspects that the milk may be poisoned. It’s an eerie choice to have milk,
a drink we associate with innocence and purity, be the drink that may be poisoned. I don’t think it would have had nearly the same effect
if it were a cup of coffee or a shot of whiskey. There’s something delightful about
making milk threatening. We see this again in “Inglourious Basterds”. Colonel Hans Landa chugs a glass of milk
from LaPadite’s farm, and it has the creepy factor
but there’s more to it than that. I quote the social theorist Roland Barthes
and his take on milk: So when a villain grabs a glass of milk it’s creepy, but it also shows their power. They’re conquering the pure and innocent
by consuming it, and there’s a strength to that. When I saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” in theaters,
the only time people audibly cringed in the crowd wasn’t during an action sequence,
it was when this happened. Western culture has an aversion to breast milk,
seeing it as taboo to drink as an adult. – Tastes a little *sniff* funky. – That’s because that’s from Debby’s left breast, Greg. The choice to harvest breast milk in the movie further alienates the post-apocalyptic world from our own. In short ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a movie about fluids. Women are exploited for their breast milk,
men are exploited for their blood, and the populace is exploited
by controlling the water supply. The complete control of these liquids by Immortan Joe shows his dominion over his world, and the milk is no exception. In fact, his sons drink the milk
to keep up their muscle mass, reinforcing the idea that consuming milk
is a sign of strength. What’s so great about using these liquids in the film is that it allows Mad Max to introduce
plot points and character arcs non-verbally. After Mad Max performs his first selfless act for Furiosa he washes himself with milk, symbolizing the start of his transformation
from a selfish man only looking for survival, to one who cares and nurtures for others. The turn to completely trusting Furiosa
is symbolized by him giving her his blood, another liquid symbol. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a prime example of milk enhancing the visual storytelling of a movie. Milk is a powerful storytelling device. It can show someone as a child,
but it can also be used to unsettle, show character strength,
or give information about the plot. So the next time you see a character drinking something, ask yourself: Thanks for watching. *Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince plays* Here it is, a groove, slightly trans-form, just a bit of a break from the norm, just a little something to break the monotony of all that hard…

100 thoughts on “Milk in Movies: Why Do Characters Drink It?

  1. man i hate when movies have so much symbolism that you cant just enjoy it anymore. i paused my movie and had to watch this now just to get a meaning of a scene. this is not cool in any way. the best movies can communicate without symbolism and by this they feel alive.

  2. XD my dad’s 51 and he still drinks milk. I’ve never seen him drink water. He says he got it from his childhood

  3. I was never aware of the amount of symbolism going into movies… until I started watching your videos. Are you sure about all this stuff? Usually, what you say makes sense but was it actually done on purpose with forethought and foreknowledge by the people making the movie?

  4. The milk spilling reference in “Home Alone” seemed a bit far-fetched, so I fact checked- John Hughes wrote: (Peter spills Pepsi)

    There was milk in the scene, but It was just part of the dialogue of finishing milk before going on a trip. Obviously, this was a directorial choice, I’d argue that milk being spilled is simply more striking than Pepsi all over the place.
    If anything, Chris Columbus made the decision to use milk for some allegorical purpose, but I highly doubt it, remember we’re talking about home alone.

  5. The reason they drink milk in A Clockwork Orange is because Alex and his droogs are actually drink Milk Plus, milk mixed with a drug that gives them the urge to commit ultraviolent acts.

  6. When I saw inglorious basterds for the first time I allways though he drank the milk because he was in a war time and drinking fresh milk would have been rare.

  7. A character who drinks milk might also be a skeleton. You never know. They could be hiding anywhere. There might even be a skeleton inside you right now.

  8. I really think people might be reading WAY too much into what it means to drink milk. It is a good source of calcium, vitamin d and promotes strong bones.

  9. When he brought up the point of poisoning something else like coffee or whiskey, what came to my mind was that:
    Milk is a sign of purity
    Black Coffee is a sign of pure bitterness and corruption
    But if mixed together, it makes a happy medium that combines the best parts of this fragmented mixture.
    What I'm trying to say is, coffee can be used to describe someone whose at peace with both of their sides, Good and Evil.
    Or I may be crazy, who knows…

  10. Dude, I think you're looking too deep into this. Characters drink things based on setting and mood. For example, a character who is a senator and a father might drink milk and/or water at the family dinner, but drink a beer when with friends. If he's by himself at the bar, he might drink a gin and tonic because there's nobody to judge his boring choice.

  11. In the Home Alone clip, they throw Kevin’s plane ticket into the trash when cleaning up spilled milk. So perhaps spilled milk really is “a symbol for his lack of maternal nourishment”!

  12. They gotta keep they're Calcium levels up duh that's why Darth Vader chopped Luke's hand off bones weren't Strong enough

  13. Were also the only species to digest the milk of another animal. Which I think by simply drinking it in film, it shows intellect. Because with agriculture humans become intelligent. So I think Milk is used as symbolism in many ways, but by drinking it, inadvertently becomes a sign of dominance

  14. im pretty sure that when they drunk the milk in clockwork orange its because it has lsd in it or smthing

  15. When I was little about 4, I figured the milk in the Home Alone scene was there because white people drink milk with their meals. It was further cemented when I was 12 and my sister's white friend came over and asked for milk when we sat down to eat. I know it's not true for all but why do white people like to drink milk with their food?

  16. In clockwork Orange it is explained the milks has drugs in it, instead of drinking alcohol they drink milk that effects their minds differently so they are crisp for the old ultra violence.

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