‘The Moo Man’ humanizes heifers

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine
On a little dairy farm in Sussix, England Andy Heathcote provides a quiet look into the farmer Stephen Hook’s life, and more uniquely, the life of his cows. Here, at Hook and Son’s Farm, Heathcote spent three years filming the cows and finding that “cows have so much character.” The movie, less focused on the farm itself, or the Hook family, allowed us to meet, and love, the dairy cows.
Somehow, the cows felt closer than animals, realer than beasts. The film showed the cows’ most human experiences.
Like the cow’s first day away from it’s “mum,” and hearing the moans and wails of both the heifer and the calf. It felt like the first day of college. Maybe a bit more hay though.
Or when Ida, the queen of the herd, was getting her hair cut by Hook, all the other cows just kind of sat around, mooing at her. I really felt as if we were in a beauty parlor. The chatty moos and the head bobbing, I am absolutely sure that if I understood cow I would have heard dirty talk about the bulls.
And after a long car ride, and a short “meet and greet” visit to the city, trying to get the cow back in the trailer proved to be impossible. The stubborn thing sat there, feet dug in deep, and no matter the pushing or pulling, would not get back in. Sounds exactly like the return side of a road trip.
And Hook was more than just a farmer – he was a father. He cleaned up the mud they tracked in the “house, “ picked them up when they were learning how to walk and reminisced when they died.
This movie used beautiful music (influenced by the cows – “they tolerate classical pop, but they don’t like dance music,” said Heathcote), long shots of blue mornings and the personalities of each of the cows to tell a different kind of story. A story not about the price of milk, or the dangers of selling “raw” milk, not the health hazards of BT or the farmer’s life – though it touched on all of the subjects. It was really about a rowdy bunch of black and white spotted troublemakers. The lives, and the personalities, of cows.
By the end, you’ve experienced love, loss, struggle and laughter. Go see this film and let the Hook and Son Farm take you on a journey you’ll never forget. A moo-ving picture, to say the least.
By: Maria Kalaitzandonakes