Like a few of the other Oscar best picture contenders this year, “Milk” failed to bring home a lot of box office bacon. Maybe it’s because it ended up playing second fiddle to front-runner “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Some might have written it off as another over-the-top film about homosexuality. Whatever the reason, the tastefully portrayed true story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk’s brief but significant career deserved more accolades.
While “Milk” focuses mainly on Harvey’s political ups and downs, the way the story is depicted and its underlying themes help to create a true cinematic masterpiece.
Director Gus Van Sant’s incorporation of historic footage from the 70s takes viewers back in time and helps re-create the tense, discriminatory era in which Harvey came to lead San Francisco’s growing gay community.
The colorful cinematography and excellent direction adds richness and sparks interest in the remarkable account by focusing on the unique individuals involved in Harvey’s life.
What makes the film totally incredible is Harvey’s amazing persistence, his willingness to stand up for his rights and the way he affects the lives of his supporters.
As he says in the movie’s final line, “You gotta give em’ hope… you gotta give em’ hope.”
Thankfully, “Milk” did not walk away from the Oscar ceremonies empty-handed. Nominated for eight awards, it nabbed Best Original Screenplay for Dustin Lance Black’s compelling script and Best Actor for Sean Penn.
Penn does an incredible job representing each of Harvey’s indelible idiosyncrasies. His outstanding performance brings the historical figure and his inspirational story back to life.
“Milk” is nothing less than exceptional, and provides an inspiration and hope for anyone struggling against the relentless face of opposition.
— Reviewed by ERIN HOLBERG, York Catholic High School