Milk

Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 294 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to unionIn 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. (Focus Features) Collapse
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    100
    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.
  2. 100
    Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. Milk is a marvel.
  3. 100
    Sean Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, and never needs to. He shows him as an ordinary man, kind, funny, flawed, shrewd, idealistic, yearning for a better world.
  4. Whatever you think of gay people (or politicians), you may find the movie compelling viewing.
  5. More than acting, though, 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.
  6. 75
    It's a testament to Van Sant's way with actors that the performances are better than the lines and that the film tugs undeniably at the heart as the awful finale falls. But a lack of poetry and freshness in the writing nags.
  7. The final result somehow undersells a man whose life and death were watershed moments in the gay rights movement.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 104
  2. Negative: 17 out of 104
  1. DackmontB
    Dec 15, 2008
    10
    One of the best films I've ever seen, deeply satisfying in every way that a film can be. Sean Penn reminds me a little of Dustin One of the best films I've ever seen, deeply satisfying in every way that a film can be. Sean Penn reminds me a little of Dustin Hoffman, and that's a compliment. He really disappears inside the role. Gus van Sant's direction is masterful, painting an astounding picture of triumph and tragedy together. The ending is still being written... by all of us, and for all of us, all the "us's" who deserve full inclusion and respect in a civil society. Inspiring and galvanizing. Expand
  2. MichaelS.
    Jan 29, 2009
    10
    A brilliant, brilliant film with great performances. Made me feel lucky to live in the times that we do and glad for people like Harvey Milk
  3. Adam
    Dec 6, 2008
    10
    Milk is one of those rare movies that tries to be many things, and succeeds at all of them. This is a film that can provoke change, open Milk is one of those rare movies that tries to be many things, and succeeds at all of them. This is a film that can provoke change, open eyes, and change lives. I know it changed mine. Expand
  4. DavidV
    Jan 14, 2009
    9
    This is definitely one of the must see movies of 2008. It brings the story of a little known politician (in the global arena) and shows how This is definitely one of the must see movies of 2008. It brings the story of a little known politician (in the global arena) and shows how his story is the American dream. The best part of this movie is not the superb acting, the intricate plot twist, the references to history and sociology, the struggles of an oppressed community, the reality of relationships (both romantic and interpersonal). The best part of this movie is that it all happened in real life. Sometimes we forget that the best stories ever told were those that really happened. If this movie had not been based on reality, it would still be as fantastic. As a side comment I want to mention that it is sad how the comments section here has had multiple low reviews because there are gay scenes. Although I'm heterosexual, I can understand that many of these acts were not put in place just for randomness.Taking them away would damage the film quality. The entire struggle for Harvey Milk and the LGBT community is to show society that they are as normal as you and I: they love, they lust, they hurt. Censoring this film in this aspect would only serve to ironically go against everything Harvey Milk stood for. Expand
  5. Apr 2, 2012
    8
    A very well made film. The acting and art direction were the best parts of the movie. With a movie dealing with a heavy subject, it wasA very well made film. The acting and art direction were the best parts of the movie. With a movie dealing with a heavy subject, it was surprisingly funny many times. An emotional but great ending. Expand
  6. SteveS.
    Nov 28, 2008
    6
    Sorry, I know that I'm out on my own here, but I found the screenplay truly terrible. The acting was of course top-notch, and I'd Sorry, I know that I'm out on my own here, but I found the screenplay truly terrible. The acting was of course top-notch, and I'd give Sean Penn (perhaps the greatest actor of our generation) an Oscar nomination in a sec. However, the script was full of cliches and facile emotional manipulation. I mean, come on! That flashback at the end: "I'm not gonna live to 50." If he really said that, fine, show it at the beginning. But the flashback? And that hackneyed scene: "Nobody cared enough to show up?" Oh, gee, turn around and there they all are. All in all, it was more of a history lesson than a drama. It didn't tell me much of anything that I hadn't learned . . . much more compellingly . . . from "The TImes of Harvey Milk." "Milk" was so top-heavy with historic exposition that there was hardly a minute for insight into the internal lives of the characters. E.g., I certainly didn't see any motivation at all for his ongoing relationship with Jack. And although, as a gay man, Harvey Milk is one of my heroes, I don't think that the kind of hagiography that ignores his well-known darker side does any justice to the man himself. (I know some of the critics thought it was there. Well, I didn't think so.) All in all, I'd say, rent "The Times of Harvey Milk." Expand
  7. Paul
    Feb 6, 2009
    0
    Milk is an appropiate title: it milked me for my admission and left me wondering if I should get up and walk out. A complete butchery of the Milk is an appropiate title: it milked me for my admission and left me wondering if I should get up and walk out. A complete butchery of the real events and man, which is a great shame, as the real story is very interesting. Expand

See all 104 User Reviews

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