Saturday, January 10, 2009

Review: Milk

Grade: A

I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I had heard stories about Harvey Milk and with the current situation in California over Prop 8, it was about time someone came made a movie like this, maybe a little too late in my opinion. I would like to state that this will not be a normal review. I am going to mix my feelings about the movie in with my feelings about the issues it brings up. If you see or have seen this movie maybe you felt the same way I did and will understand.

For those who don't know, Milk is a movie about gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. The movie takes place in the 70's in San Francisco California. The majority of the movie involves Harvey Milk, after being elected to supervisor, trying to pass a gay rights law banning businesses and housing from denying people based on sexual orientation and trying to defeat a bill that would fire all homosexual teachers, Prop 6. The cast was absolutely phenomenal. Sean Penn was perfect as the title character Harvey Milk, portraying his characteristics to perfection. James Franco gives another amazing performance as Harvey Milk's lover Scott Smith, it's roles like this and his diverse role in Pineapple Express that proves he will become one of the great actors of our day. Emile Hirsch, who played Cleve Jones, a young man who helped Harvey in his campaigns, was fantastic. James Brolin was excellent as Supervisor Dan White, who killed the mayor and Harvey Milk.

This movie was beautifully done and I have never experienced anything like it. I say that because I have seen movies like Remember the Titans and all movies like it, movies that take place in the 50's 60's and 70's that revolve around racism and haven't really been moved because, in my opinion (and especially after this recent election, I know this will upset some people), racism is dead. YES, there are still a few bad apples out there, and there always will be. In my opinion the only things keeping racism alive today is stuff like affirmative action. Anyway, as I watched Milk I had to restrain myself several times from stand up and yelling at the screen. I have never had a movie make me so angry but in such a good way. Why did this movie upset me so much? Because it absolutely disgusts me that our society, in regards to gay rights, is right back in the 70's. Gay rights haven't improved much if at all since the 70's and we are regressing as well. What's worse is that the argument against gay rights is EXACTLY the same as it was back in the 70's. "Homosexuals are all perverts" "if we give any rights to homosexuals we then will have to give rights to pedophiles, bestiality, thieves, rapist etc.." "Homosexuality is a disease" and my favorite from the people who say they love all and teach tolerance "the bible says so". Seriously WHAT THE HELL!!! During all the debates in the movie, the video clips of disgusting people like Anita Bryant and Rich Stokes, I wanted to stand up on my chair and yell out "GO TO HELL!", just as I do when I watch George W. Bush speak, and all people in support of Prop 8 in California. It just disgusts me that since the civil rights movements and feminist movements in the 60's and 70's that black people and women are now presented as equal people so much as this year we have a black president, almost had a woman president and a woman vice president, but as I said, Gay Rights still don't exist. And once again I have to ask the question, Why does it seem like nobody cares. Almost 2 months ago there was a march on the capital downtown against prop 8, I was there, there were a few hundred people there but nowhere near enough for anybody to care, it wasn't even a news item. Gay people need another Harvey Milk, they need someone to lead them, to rally them, to help aim their anger. Since Harvey Milk I don't think there's been a major political leader for gay rights.

Anyway, Milk is a must see movie for everybody. It is a beautiful piece of inspiration. Hopefully Harvey Milk will recruit more people with this movie.

"If a bullet shale enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door"
-Harvey Milk

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Michael, I saw Milk, and I truly enjoyed your review because I felt the same way you do. Several times during the movie, I wanted to get up and scream because it seems like no one cares about gay rights, like it's been shoved on the back burner. I agree with you that the gay community needs another Harvey Milk, but I just wonder when and if that day will ever come.