I heard all the hype and excitement over this movie, but still wasn't quite sure it was as good as everyone was saying. I was wrong. It is! A wonderfully strong movie - cinematography, casting, historical accuracy, and the wonderful interweaving of current film and archival film. It was an enthralling, emotionally engaging work. A definite 'A" in my list! Certainly warrants the inclusion of Best Picture nominee - an absolutely wonderful film.
This is a very dramatic and heartwrenching movie to watch, but a great one that is based on a true story. Sean Penn plays a very good Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk was a very charismatic and intelligent gay rights advocate. James Franco plays Scott, someone who was very much loved by Harvey. They both move together to San Francisco, where Harvey goes on to have his political career. Harvey Milk becomes the first openly gay man to be elected in office. The movie chronicles some of the other battles that Harvey must face when he gets elected. However, I enjoyed how the movie showed him displaying persistence, courage, and self-confidence even in the face of obstacles. Josh Brolin plays Harvey's political rival Dan White (in real life Dan White is responsible for his murder). There are going to be various elements that catch an individual's attention depending on who they are. What caught my attention was how Harvey Milk is portrayed as one who is the rescuer. Obviously, this at times served him well to have a good heart because he was well loved by many people. The movie shows how he would come to the "rescue" of the two lovers that are portrayed in the movie (Scott Smith and Jack Lira)in a compassionate and caring way. First off, let me say that I think that it was a good thing that he had a big heart. It served him in a positive way on how he connected to people from all walks of life. However, the movie does portray that it was his rescuing personality that may have cost him his life. This is due to the fact that the movie shows how one of Harvey's campaign workers warns him about being too close to Dan White. Harvey understands this concern of the campaign worker, but he implies why Dan could benefit from his help. Then the campaign worker rightfully points up that he is big on being the rescuer, and seems to drop hints to Harvey to be careful. Sean Penn played the role of Harvey Milk so well that it really felt like I was getting a historic glimpse on what it might have felt like for Harvey Milk and for those that were the closest to him and helping him out. I normally love and prefer to watch only cheerful feel good movies. However, this movie pulled at my heartstrings because a very powerful, caring, and intelligent man was taken at such a stage in his life where he was just starting to reap the benefits of his hard work. Aside from this caveat, I still feel that this was a terrific movie with some convincing and talented actors and actresses, with my favorite two being Sean Penn and James Franco.
on April 21, 2009
The movie "Milk" is named after Harvey Milk (who is played by Sean Penn) who was a political activist for the gay community back in the 70's. Milk is based off of the struggles that gay and lesibian's (mainly gay men) had in their life. The struggles consisted of minimal or no rights (i.e. employment rights), no recognition or respect whatsoever. Harvey Milk tries year after year to get into political office, until he eventually gets it. The main focus from there on is fighting to have the gay community given equal rights, and recognition in society, and in this movies case, the United States. The movie highlights just how much of an inspirational leadering Harvey Milk was, and shows the rights he faught to get for the gay community.
Although the message is loud and clear, it is not a movie that everyone would be comfortable watching. There are many scenes in the film with men kissing other men, and there is also mature theme, profane language, violence, and disturbing images. However the film strongly, and successfully gets their point across with (hopefully) a lesson learned at the end of the film. So for that, I give the film 5/5 stars.
on February 14, 2011
For those familiar with Gus Van Sant's work, this is not as experimental as his more recent films. More conventional in structure but still imbued with Van Sant's aesthetics and slightly off-beat moments, it demonstrates Van Sant's skillful and creative direction with all aspects of the production including cinematography, editing and art direction. It is not romanticized as a more typical Hollywood production would certainly be. It is a sensitive, intelligent, well-conceived film with an important message.