Shortly after proposing to be the surrogate mother of a single gay man in his 50s, the film’s protagonist Milk water makes so many squeaky decisions that viewers can consider looking through their fingers like they’re projecting a horror movie. Milk water touches on some creepy, but relatable behavior, but that’s part of the charm of this romantic comedy about platonic love and chosen family.
For Molly Bernard, best known for the eccentric, HIV-positive pansexual character of Lauren on Younger, there is some freedom to play Milk water‘s Milo, a messy 26-year-old straight woman who, despite some glaring missteps, is lovingly supported by the queer people in her life. These people include the father of the child she is carrying, Roger (Patrick Breen), her roommate George (Robin de Jesús) and her best friend Noor (Ava Eisenson). That Bernard is strange and knows well the impact of logical or chosen families adds an important layer to his portrait.
“Milo is trying to find a way out of his own isolation,” she says of her character, who lost both parents at a young age. “When you’re as traumatized and hurt as she is.” You are looking for those loopholes.
“I also like that the most stable people around her are her queer friends,” says Bernard. Avocado. “It just goes back to classic queer stories. “
From writer and director Morgan Ingari, Milk water starts with a baby shower for Noor, Milo and George’s queer best friend, and her partner. Unable to get into the spirit of diaper-sniffing shower games, Milo and George retreat to a gay bar where Milo sympathizes with Roger, a bar owner and drag artist who feels time is running out to have a child. . After a short friendship, Milo, a wayward musician who works in a guitar store, offers to carry Roger’s baby to the chagrin of his friends who find his sudden act of munificence out of character. Milo and Roger form a platonic love that runs for a while until he enters into a romantic relationship with someone from his group of gay fathers. He draws boundaries with Milo, who, feeling sidelined, quietly stalks him for company as he struggles to maintain a separation between them.
“Isn’t it funny that queers are like the Normans?” It’s one of my favorite little niceties of the movie, ”says Bernard.
A native of Brooklyn who cut his teeth by earning an MFA at the prestigious Yale School of Drama, Bernard was immediately drawn to Milo, who is in many ways the opposite of Youngerit’s Lauren. Where Lauren is confident and focused on her career, Milo is restless.
“She is messy and not immediately sympathetic, she fights, she is lost and she is in need. It’s all of those things, and I bonded with all of them, ”says Bernard. “I was a big mess for most of my 20s. And I sort of come out of this maelstrom.
Even for Bernard, who sat with Milk waterduring filming and since its release, the film stealthily escapes easy categorization. Milo meets a nice musician, Cameron (Ade Otukoya), and goes out with him. But the real love story is with her friends and Roger. In one of the first scenes, she and Roger open up to each other as he is half dressed and half undressed for his dragster alter ego, Angela Merkin. And it’s intimate in its own way. In another more overtly intimate scene, they together read Anne Sexton’s poem “The Mother Consecrator” (the inspiration for the film’s title) to the baby in the womb.
“There were times on set where I remember thinking, Oh this movie is a romantic comedy, but obviously not. But it’s kind of a romantic comedy between Milo and Roger. And then there’s the romance with Cameron, ”says Bernard. “Then it turns out it’s a coming-of-age story in a way, and it’s not. What it isn’t, is confusing. Like, the script does. isn’t confused as to the story it’s telling. It’s just saying it in an informal way. Not the traditional way we know.
There’s a reason why so many LGBTQ-themed movies and TV shows (It’s a sin, Pose, Tales of the city, and even Younger to name a few) tell of how gay people build family units outside of biological ties. But Milk water takes it one step further as Milo, who is not LGBTQ +, is greeted and cared for by her queer family, no matter how hard she gropes. In one scene, Noor, a lawyer, expresses his concern about the terms of the surrogate contract Roger drafted. At another point, although George suffered from Milo’s erratic behavior when she is reeling from Roger’s attempts to distance himself from her, it is clear that he will always come forward for her. The family dynamic created by Ingari is personal and resonates with Bernard.
“I myself come from a select queer family. I am separated from my biological mother. And I have these two moms in my life, and they are my universe, they are my people. And they are not biological parents. And yet, they are my parents, you know, ”Bernard shares. “This is something that is so important to me and most of my friends. They are my chosen family.
“This aspect of the script was obvious to me. We need more movies like this that portray family showing off for each other, ”she adds. “The word family has nothing to do with biology as far as I’m concerned. This part of the film is therefore very powerful. Hope this is one of the beautiful things people have left – this feeling of Wow, the family can be very different. “
Milk water is available on VOD now and will be available on Netflix from July 18th.