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Milk (2008)

1 rating: 5.0
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When a famous person, like the nation's first openly gay male city supervisor, inspires an acclaimed book (The Mayor of Castro Street) and Oscar-winning documentary (The Times of Harvey Milk), a biopic can seem superfluous at best. Taking over from Oliver … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: Gus Van Sant
1 review about Milk (2008)


  • Dec 15, 2008
In a previous review I coined Eagle Eye as one of the best of '08, well Milk isn't just one of the best, it is the #1 film of 2008. Sean Penn does it again and easily delivers one of his best performances bringing to life a character and a man we no longer have, and may never see again. This is a cast filled with genuine legends like Penn & Brolin, and up and coming megastars such as Emile Hirsch and James Franco. Each and every cast member seems to give it their all in keeping loyal to their played roles character in order to play an honest homage to this legendary figure. Gus Van Sant, is a relatively unknown Director and I'm hoping that this picture is one that makes him a household name.

Personally, I'd never heard of Harvey Milk nor would have had any idea just who the man is, where he was from or what he stood for. When I heard about the film I thought nothing of it until I saw the trailer and then I was drawn in. Political activism is something I'm a strong believer in, I'm one for liberalism and the basic rights of man being upheld. I've always found it quite hypocritical that America, a country which swears allegiance to its constitution on a daily basis has such a history of prejudice and bigotry. You would think, looking at their constitution that politicians would fight to uphold its core values of "all men be created equal" rather than fight to rob certain minorities of their rights, but looking at Harvey Milks struggle and other struggles like it, I'm genuinely shocked.

I would put Harvey Milk in the same league as such men like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. They too were men who saw the persecution of their people and sought to put an end to it and fight for the core constitutional values to be upheld. Close to the end of Harveys life, America was going through a vote on Proposition 6. This was a vote which saw all homosexuals be removed from their jobs and focused its main attention on teachers. The reasoning behind this is that homosexuals recruit children to homosexuality and under "gods law" are simply "immoral". I've always been shocked by these claims by politicians and their justifications behind them are laughable, claims like this are even being made today but I'm glad to know that such prejudices aren't held in such wide regard as they once were. All history needs now is another champion for homosexuals that would have a bigger impact on the world stage.

The film tells of the history making chapter in the story that is of American Gay Civil Rights. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to a public office in the entire United States history and possibly the first in the world. The film is set during Harveys mid 40s when he first moves to San Francisco with his partner Scott Smith (James Franco). The heterosexual community don't agree with Harvey and Scott setting up business in the neighbourhood and try to make it difficult for them. Because of this Harvey decides to become an activists and increases the gay presence within the neighbourhood which force those companies who tried to make it hard for him out of business.

Over time, Harvey starts to realise that in order to truly stop the persecution by police and other bigotted residents Harvey must run for Supervisor of District 5. He knows it will be a difficult fight but he knows that it's the only way to truly make a difference for the gay community. The first 4 years he runs for the office, he's met with disappointing defeat yet every year he's defeated by a less and less margin until in the 5th year he manages to pull off the win and makes history. During his time in office, he finds a conflict with fellow supervisor but of district 8, Dan White. Harvey first wants Whites support in order to win votes, but due to a few conflicts Dan ends up being Harveys biggest opponent.

I think telling you more about the story would give the whole thing away, so I'll leave it there. What I want to say about this film simply can't be expressed in words. The only way I can put across my love and appreciation of this picture is to simply recommend it to the masses. It's incredible, one of the best things you'll see this year if not ever and even if this doesn't get massive worldwide advertising campaign, it's a film that will go down as a favourite amongst many. This film has also won my love thanks to the excellent acting by Emile Hirsch, I've always been a fan and is one of the reasons I chose to watch this.

Go see it, buy it or just get on a plane and watch it on your trip, but the message is loud and clear, SEE THIS MOVIE.

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