Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk

Running Time: 
84 minutes

Sickle-cell disease is a disorder I had only heard in passing. Like all diseases I knew it was bad, but that was the extent of my knowledge mostly because you never really hear about it in the media. Lifelong friends Jaqai Mickelsen and Omar Beach are hoping to change all that with their informative documentary Spilled Milk, which provides an intimate look at the disease and all the complications that come with it.


The documentary opens by establishing the friendship between the director, Jaqai Mickelsen, and the film's main subject, Omar Beach. Through old school VHS tape recordings audiences see a hilarious friendship that would give Turk and JD a run best bromance. On the outside, it looks like any two friends goofing off, but it’s soon revealed that Omar has been battling with sickle-cell disease for his entire life. The documentary then transitions into what Omar’s life is like as he struggles to deal with the constant pain he is in and how it affects his life, both personally and socially.


Spilled Milk does an excellent job at conveying what sickle-cell disease exactly is through wonderful and oftentimes hilarious animations and informative interviews with medical professionals. Though it can be a bit overwhelming with highly detailed information and terminology that may go over your head, Omar’s daily life with the disease more than speaks for itself. Sickle-cell’s biggest symptom is the intense pain people suffer, and the documentary doesn’t shy away from showing Omar suffering through an attack. Even though there are no physical signs to a “crisis” as it’s called, seeing Omar writhe in pain or not be able to go out and enjoy himself with friends is absolutely heartbreaking.


Because Jaqai and Omar are such good friends, Spilled Milk provides an intimate window into living with sickle-cell disease. The friendship between the two of them is infectious (in a good way!) and heartwarming. Unfortunately, there’s nothing glamorous about the disease itself. The documentary doesn’t sugarcoat any of the doctor’s appointments or emergency room visits, and some of the footage can be downright disturbing.


Having known practically nothing going into the film, I now believe I have a better understanding and a base knowledge of what sickle-cell disease is and what those who have it are going through. Spilled Milk is as informative as it is intimate. It’s a lot to take in, but if you stick with it there’s a lot of heart put into bringing this terrible disease more into the light.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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