Yesterday was November 25, and I have been anticipating Gus Van Sant’s Milk for the longest time. Probably seen 2007. Well, I finally watched and made the decision to watch a special screening a day before the world premiere at the Castro Theater. It’s absolutely necessary that I watched the movie in the Castro because Milk is a San Francisco (specially Castro) story. The crowd was over packed with sold out tickets that overwhelmed the streets. And when we finally watched the film, the audience was treated to a special appearance by Harvey’s Milk openly gay nephew.
Milk chronicles the life of openly gay San Francisco supervisor, Harvey Milk, before his death in 1977. The movie opens with black and white images of gay men maliciously outed in the 1950s. These stark images of today showcase the struggles the community has gone tough and how much we needed a leader. Milk’s political attempts were many but grew a large following each time. Sean Penn plays the assassinated supervisor with an uncanny resemblance to the real man. He’s able to portray a vulnerable man, but with a sense of a grand vision for his people. He does not fail. The viewers see Milk as he tapes his will throughout the movie as he sees his impending fate. The supporting cast lends themselves well to the San Francisco tale. James Franco plays Penn’s boyfriend with a endearing interaction between the two men. They make their relationship authentic and beautiful. Penn’s political team is played by Emile Hirsch, Joseph Cross, and Lucas Gabreel. Each member give great performances, especially Hirsch as succeeds in the subtle mannerisms of a flamboyant “trick.” Besides Penn, he has the best lines as he is sarcastic and poignant for the movement. And Gabreel is far succeeding his High School Musical fame. I hope he becomes bigger than Zac Efron in regards to acting. And finally, Josh Brolin plays Dan White, Milk’s assassin. Brolin plays another troubled political figure (the first being George W. Bush) with an intense hatred for Milk. His plight is unfair, but he rid the world of a great man. Fantastic performance from Brolin.
At the end of the film, it’s a bittersweet tale that needs to reach the masses. After the scary parallels between Milk’s Prop 6 (denying gay teachers their rights) to the current Prop 8, the gay movement is making full circles as they portray our struggles. It’s an American Story that Everyone must see it, regardless of orientation and race. Like Harvey Milk said in the movie, “Never Blend In.”