‘Milk’ draws parallels with resonate passion

An outstanding director, Gus Van Sant, and an outstanding cast and crew, including music director Danny Elfman, showcase an important human rights leader in this high-impact biography starring Sean Penn. Indeed, Van Sant may have another mainstream breakthrough with this latest achievement, “Milk.”

Penn shines as the energetic “Mayor of Castro Street” Harvey Milk, the nation’s first openly gay city official, who was finally elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the late 1970s after several failed campaigns.

The star-studded film and its avant-garde director do a good job of staying out of history’s way in retelling the genesis of the gay rights movement from ground zero.

The film lacks Van Sant’s penchant for shock and sticks more to value in portraying the story as it unfolded.

It remains an up-front, intimate and authentic portrait with real-life footage throughout, which couples well with Van Sant’s signature use of super-8 film.

“Milk” begins in 1970 with a New York “insurance man” who realizes that at 40 he hasn’t accomplished anything in life he can be proud of. What follows is the inspiring true story of the climb to public office that brought gay rights into the nation’s dialogue.

Milk is imperfect and lovable as he is portrayed. He runs on a human rights platform, but gets the San Francisco Chronicle’s endorsement as a good businessman. Really, he does not run as a candidate at all, but as “part of a movement.”

Anita Bryant, the outspoken singer who made her crusade the anti-gay rights movement, appears in 1970s footage throughout the film. Enough footage, in fact, no actress was needed to recreate the foe.

Josh Brolin, who plays fellow supervisor Dan White, is, as always, reliably solid as the staunch white male dedicated to family, church and keeping up appearances.

And the supporting cast provides color and heartwarming detail. James Franco gives a standout performance as Milk’s longtime boyfriend Scott. Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna and Alison Pill are also memorable as Milk’s friends and campaign staff.

“Milk” draws parallels and resonates. It also reminds us of the liberties we take for granted and the glaring struggle that remains ahead for gay rights advocates.

- Rated R
- Grade: A
- Now showing

Related posts:

  1. RSF Incorporation measure draws strong turnout
  2. ‘Australia’ tips its hat to American films
  3. Actor/playwright premieres outrageous comedy at Playhouse
  4. Hong Kong born actress premieres film in Del Mar
  5. Local restaurateur has passion for racing

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=1604

Posted by on Dec 11, 2008. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • Rita Szczotka of La Jolla applies her business savvy to charitable causes
    Rita Szczotka graduated from Hoover High School in 1976. She was crowned Miss San Diego, Fairest of the Fair in 1977 and a runner up to the Miss California pageant that same year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from National University and San Diego State. After 20-plus years in the financial industry wor […]
  • House of Week; 8720 Cliffridge Aveneu
    A Perfect Blend of Luxury and Harmony 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3,321 estimated square feet. State-of-the-art gourmet chef’s kitchen. Open and functional floor plan. High-end remodel. Wenge hardwood flooring. Air conditioning, custom paint, & home lighting automation. An expansive grassy & lush backyard. Spa-like bathrooms. Close proximity to beache […]
  • La Jolla Family Dentistry treats those with special needs and expert knowledge
    Special needs dentistry patients are a focus for Jana Osmolinski, DDS, at La Jolla Family Dentistry. Jana, a trained dental anesthesiologist, and her husband and partner, Eric Osmolinski, DMD, have worked as a dental team in town since opening newly renovated Draper offices in August 2013. […]