Last night I watched the new Gus van Sant film, Milk. It was probably on my top ten list of best films ever. It chronicles the life of San Francisco city supervisor, Harvey Milk. Openly gay and a gay rights activist, Milk brings together the famous Castro district together to create a movement that has defined San Francisco as a liberal, open-minded city today. This movie documents the struggles and fights for acceptance of the gay community, pioneered by Milk and his recruits.
First, Sean Penn is amazing. AMAZING. I wasn't watching Sean Penn, I was watching Harvey. He falls into this role with such fluidity and humor, its a joy to watch him light up the screen. Next, the filmmaking itself is poetic, romantic and just...cool. Gus, you really outdid yourself this time.
This movie comes at a perfect time during the fight over Proposition 8 in California, which passed, banning the marriage of homosexual couples. In this movie it is Proposition 6, backed by Senator Briggs, which would ban homosexual teachers and firing them from their jobs. Milk overcomes prejudices by getting elected to the city supervisor position and continuing to fight for gay rights. He is surrounded by an energetic and motivated circle of friends who help him realize his goals. James Franco (oh SO CUTE) plays his first boyfriend, and tries to cope with the constant stress of rioting and campaigning. Harvey Milk and the mayor of San Francisco were murdered by Dan White, who was later charged with manslaughter and served 5 years and later committed suicide.
Milk is a true story of personal struggle and fight for civil rights and true equality within the GLBT community. Its a joy to watch, its heartbreaking but most of all inspirational. See it!
photos courtesy google images