I rented Milk last week because I heard it was good. It’s excellent. It tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. It was the ’70s, and if there’s any truth to what’s shown in the movie, it was not easy being gay in the ’70s. He ran for office three times and failed three times before he finally made it. The movie does a good job of showing a person who wasn’t political but was compelled to become an activist when he was 40. Politics is theatre and it’s insane, and how anyone is able to do good within that system is a miracle. You don’t have to be a gay-rights activist to enjoy Milk. It’s a compelling drama and a well-told story no matter how you look at it, and it’s relevant considering what’s happening in California these days with Proposition 8. And if you want to see an actor at the top of his game, watch Sean Penn in this movie. I’ve seen interviews with Sean Penn. He is one lean, mean, tough looking son of a gun. But in this movie, you’d never know. He’s completely gay. He embodies Harvey Milk. It’s astounding and convincing for every second he’s on the screen.
I didn’t know anything about Harvey Milk until I saw this movie. Those who are knowledgeable might have a few problems with how certain facts were edited out to create a more dramatic narrative. But that’s what movies do, and as a movie, I can’t find much fault with it. Apparently, the documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk, presents a more accurate version of his story.