Sunday, January 25, 2009


Milk is Gus Van Sant's more straight forward narrative since Good Will Hunting. After engaging in art house flick after art house flick, he returns to the mainstream and gives us a wonderfully crafted and powerful biography.

Milk tells the true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. It follows his introduction into politics all the way to his assassination. The story is so fascinating and powerful, that very little needed to be done to make this a great movie. That apparently wasn't enough, though. Because Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, and James Franco give stellar performances. I would have hands down given Penn the best actor award (though I haven't seen the Wrestler). But not just him, the rest of the cast fills out every corner of the ensemble, making every character fascinating for their time on screen (even if only for a shot or two).

Van Sant blended archival footage with the movie production. This could potentially be distracting (I mean why not just make a documentary- it would be just as interesting). But it didn't bother me at all. Van Sant really brought the era (which happened before I was born) and actually painted an image that made me feel like I could have lived through it.

The movie splits time between Milk's struggles as a politician, his dysfunctional relationships, and the general culture of Castro Street. The movie meanders through both tragic and triumphant points- ranging from his election as city supervisor, to the fight against anti-gay activist Mary Anne White.

Milk is a powerful movie that makes you want to be a part of something larger. It truly demonstrates the power of activism, but also the sacrifices that must be made. Milk had to give up his most cherished relationships (James Franco) and finally even his life. This is one of my top movies of 2008.


1 comment:

esg158 said...

give more movie reviews!!!