|Focus Features | Release Date: November 26, 2008||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Harvey Milk embodied the concept that "all politics is personal," and by presenting the famed Mayor of Castro Street's personal and public lives with such clarity and empathy, Van Sant has made something very rare in Hollywood -- a genuinely powerful political film that works equally well as a story of personal triumph. Read full review
Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black pull off something very close to magic. They make a film that's both historically precise and as graceful, unpredictable, and moving as a good fiction film--that is to say, a work of art.
Three decades ago, Milk and his ilk were able to enlist President Jimmy Carter and future President Ronald Reagan in the gay fight against Prop. 6. But this fall, Barack Obama was all but mute on Prop. 8. Some community organizers, like the President-elect, are more cautious than others. It's a shame Harvey Milk wasn't around to recruit him. Read full review
How you feel about Milk may depend on whether you've seen Rob Epstein's great, Oscar-winning 1984 documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk." Van Sant's movie lacks that film's shattering emotional impact. (Rage is not a color in the director's palette.) For those coming to Milk's story for the first time, however, this will be a rousing experience. Read full review
For its mesmerizing first two-thirds, Van Sant keeps the film tightly focused on his subject, superbly played by Penn and intimately shot, home-movie style, by Harris Savides. But when the director pulls back to detail Harvey Milk's fight against gay backlash, Milk gets derailed. And - dare I say it? - didactic. Read full review
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