OSCAR WINNER! Best Actor – Sean Penn
OSCAR WINNER! Best Original Screenplay – Dustin Lance Black
MILK is director Gus Van Sant’s riveting biopic about slain gay rights activist and San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk. Based on the politically resonant and thoroughly timely screenplay of Dustin Lance Black, Van Sant follows the arc of Milk’s political awakening, from closeted Brooklyn insurance executive to doyen of San Francisco’s Castro district’s burgeoning gay mecca in the 1970s.
Sean Penn portrays the film’s hero, melting into the role with an affable flamboyance that is both spirited and eminently engaging. James Franco plays opposite Penn as Milk’s supportive and easygoing boyfriend, Scott Smith. The couple’s cheerful and loving rapport lends buoyancy to the film’s overall message of hope as Milk ascends from grassroots community organizer to a galvanizing figurehead in the push for gay civil liberties.
When Moral Majority crusader Anita Bryant forms an initiative to root out gay teachers and their supporters from public schools (Proposition 6), Milk is pitted in a bitter battle against fellow City Hall supervisor Dan White, played by Josh Brolin. While Van Sant does not deviate from the expository conventions that have defined other biopics, MILK sticks to biographically pertinent details that serve the film’s underlying message of one man’s idealism and conviction in the face of repression and bigotry.
Awards & Quotes
“[An] incisive and stirring dramatization of Harvey Milk’s heroic life and violent death.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Funny, touching, angry and filled to the brim with great performances, Milk is a wonderful film from start to finish .” – EFilmCritic.com
“Penn’s performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject.” – Wall Street Journal
“Once in a while, a movie arrives at such a perfect moment, its message and meaning so finely tuned to the current zeitgeist, that it seems less a cinematic event than a cosmic convergence, willed into being by a once-in-a-lifetime alignment of the stars.” – Washington Post
“Sean Penn’s stunning performance as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man voted into US public office is the first reason to see this potent and involving film.” – Urban Cinephile
“There is no concession to melodrama, nor a moment wasted. Van Sant presents his story with an unflinching eye on the factual timeline of Milk’s days in San Francisco, right down to the moment of jarring violence that ended his life.” – San Francisco Examiner
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- English, French Subtitles
- English, SDH, French, Spanish
- Deleted Scenes
- Featurettes: 1. Remembering Harvey. 2. Hollywood Comes to San Francisco. 3. Marching for Equality.