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BTDesign Award
Milk (2008)

Cast: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Lucas Grabeel

Director(s): Gus Van Sant

Language: English

Genre: Not Selected / Unknown

Website: Click Here


Milk is a 2008 American biographical film directed by Gus Van Sant. It is based on the life of the late American politician Harvey Milk a gay rights activist and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.


Jefferygn wrote on January 12, 2009, 10:07 pm
Possibly my favorite film of 2008. We shall see.

Sean Penn is outstanding, and as biopics go, there ain't much better. The story arc is gripping, and the issue at the heart of the film is still incredibly relevant to this day.

Over the course of our lifetimes discrimination, while it still exists of course, has dramatically decreased. It simply ain't cool any more to be racist, or a sexist, etc. However, homophobia is still quite tolerated. So seeing a film that addresses this ongoing problem is enlightening and somehow inspiring.

While homophobia is still rampant, this film does illustrate how much has changed for the homosexuals of this continent. I don't think they raid gay bars any more simply because they are gay bars... but archival footage of that BS is how the film opens. Imagine having to live with that.

Highly recommended

Now I want to see The Times of Harvey Milk; the 1984 doc that won the oscar for best doc that year.

motleymitch wrote on January 23, 2009, 4:08 am
Tremendous and powerful filmmaking.
Not my fave of the year, but I think Penn will win the Oscar for this (Rourke may be a sentimental fave for 'The Wrestler', but Penn's is the better performance). James Franco also has a great supporting role here, and although 'Pineapple Express' was mediocre, he was a bright spot in that too - he is emerging as a flexible young talent worth keeping an eye on for varied work, much like Johnny Depp or Penn himself.
Van Sant's direction is done in several styles, lending some scenes a doc feel, others a muted intimacy, and others a grand scope of activity, but without diverting your attention from the story.
I agree with everything Jeff says above, but what made this even more compelling for me was that I only discovered who Milk was last year when I visited San Fran and saw the Castro district and Harvey Milk Plaza. Very inspirational and tragic.

motleymitch wrote on January 23, 2009, 4:08 am
Deril wrote on January 28, 2009, 11:22 pm
Well sorry folks, but I have to say that I was extremely disappointed here. Let me try and be clear so we don?t spark any feuds between myself and the ?4-starers? (Mitch & Jeff).
I think Jeff?s review is bang on and I couldn?t agree more with all your points. I also agree with Mitch?s thoughts on the various directional styles used by Van Sant (I thought the direction was by far the strongest thing this film has going for it. I do, therefore, agree that this IS a good (and important) movie; however, I personally didn?t like it. Does that even make sense?
I mean that I can appreciate it, but really didn?t enjoy watching it. I found it much longer than it needed to be, and I really didn?t think Penn was THAT fantastic. He did a good job, but I could see several different actors being able to pull it off just as well. I don?t think he deserves an Oscar for this performance (nomination?maybe).
Franco was good, but again, His character was straight forward and didn?t offer too much complexity for him. I agree with Mitch that he is an up and comer and has lots of talent and range (?look at my range? ? Krusty). I also just found myself not caring too much for any of the characters (including Milk) and therefore I just didn?t get too into the story. The movement itself is much bigger than the man (and so it should be) and I therefore didn?t find the man too compelling. Again, a very good movie, but just not my cup of tea I guess.
Deril wrote on January 28, 2009, 11:25 pm
One last point.
I just re-read the posting for Brokeback Mountain (for obvious reasons) and Jeff had made a point about seeing the actor and not the character. I honestly felt that about Penn. I couldn't see him as Harvey Milk, I only saw Sean Penn. I guess that's why I didn't find his performance Oscar worthy.
motleymitch wrote on January 29, 2009, 3:07 am
Sounds like someone's digging themselves further into the fagala hole! Hello down there in the fagala hole!!

Papamikey wrote on March 7, 2010, 10:50 pm
Sorry 4-star'ers...I cast my lot with Deril on this one. It was a good film, but not a GREAT film - it was just too long and beat the same drum over and over. Almost became monotonous instead of inspiring...

And I kept waiting for him to get shot...no spoiler here, they say it in the first 5 minutes and it's supposedly common knowledge. But I kept saying, "OK - HEEERE's where he gets shot..." which isn't precisely what I should have been focusing on. Meh - though, admittedly, when he DID get shot, I found THAT disturbing and moving.

Weird...I know...

What's your rating of this movie?


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