Tuesday, 16 July 2013

I wish I was Roger Ebert when I write film reviews...

 (except, I'd rather not be dead!)

Here's a bad review of Freddie got Fingered, from Roger Ebert:

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."

Here's a good review of Beauty and the Beast, from Roger Ebert:

"It slipped around all my roadblocks and penetrated directly into my strongest childhood memories."

Here's a brilliant review of The Moo Man, from Caroline Coxon:

N.B. I mean that the film is brilliant, not the review.

Last night, I went to see it at The Picture House in Uckfield - with fourteen friends!


Today I want to say The Right Things about it, so loads of other people go to see it too.

This documentary, about a local (to me) dairy farmer, Stephen Hook, striving to preserve traditional ways instead of being swallowed up by huge operations with enough financial clout to deal on an equal footing with supermarkets and dairy processing giants.

Simple fact of life: Supermarkets pay him 27p for a litre of milk which costs him 34p to produce.

Stephen loves his cows, knows each one of them, spends time talking to them, stroking them and caring for them - yet still runs a business, part of which is beef production.


The Moo Man is a tranquil joy to watch, as gentle as a line of cows ambling up the meadow to be milked. It's beautifully and sensitively filmed, epitomising an England of today which I hope fervently will never become a bygone era.

It made me think. It certainly made me think about the cavalier way I buy 6 litre plastic containers of milk from Tesco, with nary a thought about the quality of life of the cows who produced it and the price paid to the farmers.

It made me yearn for a slower pace of life, while never sentimentalising what sloggingly hard work farming can be.

The film is laugh-out-loud in places -  cows have minds of their own -  and we were often moved by  the way Stephen Hook lived his life and respected his animals, in life, in sickness and in death.


The sheer humanity of it.

Is humanity the right word? Hey, Roger Ebert, I'm going to invent a new word.

Cowmanity. The Moo Man is over-flowing with it.

Moomanity, even.

Don't miss it. It's a rare treat.