Wednesday, December 03, 2008

You gotta give 'em hope

During my freshman year in college, I saw the Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, and I was moved to tears.  Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person elected to major office in the United States (in 1978), and his story was one of tragedy, yes, but mostly of hope and optimism and equality.  For years Hollywood has been trying to make a movie about this pioneering civil rights leader, and finally director Gus Van Sant has done it.

Milk is a wonderful film that truly captures not only the joyous personality of Harvey Milk but also the importance of his mission.   Harvey Milk's importance as a political and cultural figure cannot be understated, and the film indeed demonstrates this impact.  Set against the ridiculous California "Prop 6," a law that would have made it illegal for gay people to be teachers, the film also strikes a eerily timely chord as California (and the whole nation) currently fights a similar civil rights battle.

Sean Penn will win the Oscar for Best Actor.  He is Harvey Milk here, and he plays the role with such passion, heart, and determination that he elevates his craft here.  This is one of the great acting performances, and it is a wonder to behold.  The rest of the cast is also pitch perfect, from James Franco to Emile Hirsch to Diego Luna--they all really imbue their characters with truth and love.

Though we know going in that the story is a tragedy, Milk is an uplifting and inspiring story.  It is also an important story that needed to be told.  It is required viewing for anyone who wants a complete sense of the history of civl rights in our country.  And it is beautifully done.


At 10:51 PM, Blogger scott w posited...

I saw the trailer for this on imdb yesterday and I am excited to see it. It is on my list right next to Slumdog Millionaire.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Jason posited...

Here in Minnesota, we would call this film Melk.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

And as a vegan, I was conflicted about even going. I wish it had been about Harvey Soymilk.


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