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Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Milk”

(Focus Features. 2 hours, 7 minutes. Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violence. Directed by Gus van Sant.) Sean Penn (Harvey Milk), Josh Brolin (Dan White), Emile Hirsch (Cleve Jones), James Franco (Scott Smith), Victor Garber (Mayor George Moscone), Diego Luna (Jack Lira), Lucas Grabeel (Danny Nicoletta), Allison Pill (Anne Kronenberg). Music by Danny Elfman.

A captivating film, with another outstanding performance by Sean Penn. The story of Harvey Milk (1930-1978), the San Francisco city supervisor and first openly-gay man elected to a major office in the United States. He was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by Daniel White, another city supervisor who had just resigned and was trying to get his job back. The film charts the last eight years of Milk’s life, as he and his lover Scott Smith move from New York City to the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. There Milk finds his purpose, as a defender of human rights, while his lovers often find themselves secondary to the cause. Good supporting cast, especially Emile Hirsch as Milk pal Cleve Jones, and Josh Brolin as the conflicted White (he ended up serving only 5 years in prison, thanks to the famous “Twinkie Defense”). Solid look back at a volatile period in American political history.