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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 282 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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 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) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Perry Seibert
    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.
  3. 100
    It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure as hell haven't seen it.
  4. Whatever you think of gay people (or politicians), you may find the movie compelling viewing.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    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.
  6. 75
    As good as it is depicting his career, Milk doesn't fare quite as well as a portrait of the man himself.
  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: 78 out of 103
  2. Negative: 17 out of 103
  1. MarcosRibasdeFaria
    Dec 15, 2008
    Another masterpiece by Sant
  2. MichaelS.
    Jan 29, 2009
    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
    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
    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. Nov 28, 2012
    Featuring an unforgettable performance from Sean Penn, excellent directorial work from Gus Van Sant, and a first-rate script by Dustin Lance Black, "Milk" proves itself to be heartwarming, provocative, and unafraid. Collapse
  6. CommandoDude
    Dec 27, 2008
    The reason I rated this movie so low, is because it is a movie I would not like to watch a second time. Now. It was very dramatic, and at times...humorous, but only at times. I didn't like it because it had FAR too much gay stuff in it then was needed. Lots of guy kissing, and naked men. I do not want to see that. Humor was lost on most of the time in favor of this epic but not-so epic struggle against oppression. I feel Milk could have been a lot better then it was. Expand
  7. Paul
    Feb 6, 2009
    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 103 User Reviews