Milk - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Milk Reviews

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Melissa Anderson
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Cole Haddon
Film.com
May 6, 2011
At the moment, it's my favorite movie of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
May 9, 2009
Sean Penn gives a meticulously detailed performance as the cagey and charismatic pol, but credit should also go to Dustin Lance Black, whose script squarely locates Milk at the center of his community, his city, and his cause.
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
January 23, 2009
The story is sad, but the mood is jubilant and the energy relentless.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/6
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 11, 2008
Perhaps it is simply an accident of timing that puts Milk in theaters at this moment. But fate or simple fortunate timing, Milk arrives as one of the best films of 2008.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2008
Penn's performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 28, 2008
Milk is an agitprop fantasy about the selflessness of sainthood. If anybody but Penn was playing the saint, we'd probably feel as if we were being sold a bill of goods. Instead, he just about pulls it off. Such is the treachery of talent.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 26, 2008
This film wants us to understand both how far we've come as a society and that it is still not far enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
November 26, 2008
Once in a while, a movie arrives at such a perfect moment, its message and meaning so finely tuned to the current zeitgeist, that it seems less a cinematic event than a cosmic convergence, willed into being by a once-in-a-lifetime alignment of the stars.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
November 26, 2008
Milk is so immediate that it's impossible to separate the movie's moment from this one.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 26, 2008
Milk has one of the finest ensemble casts this year and a magnificent, career-topping performance by Sean Penn, who disappears into the title role.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 26, 2008
The film understandably and movingly centres itself on Penn's portrayal of a hedonist-turned-activist who discovered that in order to change his world, he had to find his voice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Melissa Anderson
Time Out New York
November 26, 2008
What the film lacks in daring narrative it makes up for with its electric portrayal of its radical subject.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 26, 2008
Van Sant's film (and why did it take 24 years after the documentary to make this stirring, heartbreaking story a feature film?) finally gives Milk his due -- and becomes an immediate classic of gay cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
November 26, 2008
It's nice to see Penn play a character of Spicoli-like sweetness and openness, rather than the glowering lugs that have become his specialty.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
November 26, 2008
I don't know that this is Penn's best performance, overall -- let's have that debate some other time -- but as far as the mannered, immersive impersonations of his later career go, Harvey Milk takes the cake.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 26, 2008
Milk represents a thought provoking, cathartic, and mostly true tale of politics and courage.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
November 26, 2008
The final result somehow undersells a man whose life and death were watershed moments in the gay rights movement.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 26, 2008
Penn is one of our great actors, and his greatness comes from small things. Close your eyes and listen to how he absolutely gets -- but doesn't caricature -- Milk's honking Long Island accent.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
November 26, 2008
Penn goes way deep and soulful in a highly ingratiating performance that's the one to beat for the Best Actor Oscar.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 26, 2008
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
November 26, 2008
Somehow, Milk implants hope in those who've lost it. Somehow, Penn plays him as a feisty charmer so winning and lifelike that you'll regard him as a friend before it's over.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 26, 2008
Milk is a worthy docudrama that is solid if not sublime. But, sometimes, a merely good film can brush up against greatness, and this one does so twice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
November 26, 2008
Progress is slow, but Harvey Milk was one of the first to set the wheels in motion. He more than deserves a movie this good.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 26, 2008
At the heart of this eloquent portrait of a cultural catalyst is Penn's profoundly human, and possibly finest, performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
November 26, 2008
It's a reminder, in this age of virtual flash and computer-generated wonders, of the power of simple human expression.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 26, 2008
What's surprising about Milk is how much creative fun Van Sant has under the serious circumstances.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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November 26, 2008
Penn is so engaging, physically loose and just plain smart in the title role, he's bound to top everyone's shortlist come awards time.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
November 26, 2008
The story of Harvey Milk is a tragedy, but not since Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High has Sean Penn played such a serenely happy individual.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
November 26, 2008
Milk was murdered 30 years ago. The exceptional The Times of Harvey Milk won the Oscar for Best Documentary 24 years ago.... Yet, all this time later... Hollywood wants us to applaud its courage for finally--finally--telling this story?
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 26, 2008
Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. And Milk is a marvel.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 25, 2008
The film is a passionate history lesson, a broadside in favor of gay rights and the engaging story of one flawed but courageous man.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
November 25, 2008
[Penn's] strong performance provides crucial ballast to the winding narrative of Milk's life, which hits a lot of dead ends and detours before his rise to political and cultural prominence.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 25, 2008
[An] incisive and stirring dramatization of Harvey Milk's heroic life and violent death.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
November 25, 2008
Van Sant works from a script by Dustin Lance Black to tell Milk's story clearly and forcefully.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 25, 2008
With the combination of Van Sant's direction and Penn's masterful performance, it's moving, and important, as well.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 25, 2008
With Milk, a great San Francisco story becomes a great American story.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 25, 2008
Sean Penn amazes me.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
November 25, 2008
The film hits all the important marks but never feels like a typical biopic, a superficial, greatest-hits collection.
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Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
November 24, 2008
An exceptional film.
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Ben Lyons
At the Movies
November 24, 2008
A very powerful film that's really relevant to what is going on in the world today.
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David Denby
New Yorker
November 24, 2008
Giving himself utterly to the role, Penn takes an actor's craft and dedication to soulful heights, making a demand for dignity that becomes universal.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
November 24, 2008
Milk is one of the most heartfelt portraits of a politician ever made -- the man himself remains just out of reach.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 18, 2008
It's a lengthy, engaging, information-packed tribute to an early activist who dedicated the last years of his life to gay rights before it was fashionable, and paid the ultimate price for his passion.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 3, 2008
The first great film to look at civil rights from the perspective of the gay movement.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
November 3, 2008
An adroitly and tenderly observed account of the life of Harvey Milk.