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Anchored by Sean Penn's powerhouse performance, Milk is a triumphant account of America's first openly gay man elected to public office.
All Critics (238)
| Top Critics (49)
| Fresh (221)
| Rotten (17)
| DVD (5)
Penn may be the main attraction, but this is very much an ensemble piece. Emile Hirsch, as cheeky street kid turned activist Cleve Jones, Diego Luna as Milk's annoyingly needy, unstable second lover and James Franco's Scott, add to the communal spirit.
At the moment, it's my favorite movie of the year.
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.
The film itself can be taken as an act of testimony, mingling archival footage with re-enactments and immediacy with nostalgia.
Penn is a revelation as Milk. He's always been a no-holds-barred actor, but this is another departure: his energy drives the story.
The story is sad, but the mood is jubilant and the energy relentless.
Penn is so well-tuned that not for a minute does his Milk lapse into a caricature.
Gus Van Sant's portrait of San Francisco politician Harvey Milk clunks along as the squarest movie he's ever made, a result of the director investing more emotion in the martyred idol than in the bleeding man.
Like many a nostalgia trip, it stops at the moment the style it's rejecting is about to begin.
Sean Penn's portrayal of Milk stands out, with his considerable weight loss and authentic body language... [Full review in Spanish]
Milk is fortuitously, if inevitably, a movie of its moment.
[Dustin Lance] Black's attempts to dress up this schema in the gay trappings afforded by his subject do nothing to meaningfully pervert the form-or Milk's emotional tidiness.
One of the most moving and remarkable films of the past decade. Milk is an extraordinary and extremely well-made film about the final eight years of the life and career of Harvey Milk- a time when his life truly mattered, and when the world was altered because of him. If you don't know, Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the U.S., and a major player in the world of gay rights. I didn't see Sean Penn in this movie. All I saw was Harvey Milk. That's what I love about Penn- no matter what the role is, he takes it and totally disappears into it. The rest of the cast is equally amazing, and it's a shame that they all couldn't get Oscars for their work. I was especially fond of Hirsch, Brolin, Franco, and Pill. This is somewhat of a return to more mainstream stuff for Gus Van Sant, but I wouldn't call it a complete sell out. That he is openly gay himself doesn't necessarily make the film on the nose, nor does it make the film any better, but it probably doesn't hurt. I just love how this is a show of his versatility. He can make a string of artsy indie stuff, then, no pun intended, play it straight and do something like this: a straightforward biopic about a gay man. Bottom line: This is an important film that needs to be seen-regardless of one's personal convictions.
Great film with strong performances by the entire cast. An important part of American history that is under-reported to the general public. Any American interested in civil rights should see this film.
Milk rests on Sean Penn's powerhouse performance as Harvey Milk. Without his mesmerizing performance, the film would not be what it is... Chronicling the events, struggles and triumphs of the first openly gay man elected to public office, Milk is a triumphant account of the moving and heartfelt story, told with stark focus by Gus van Sant. Josh Brolin is also fantastic here as Milk's opposer in office, as is James Franco as Harvey's lover.
Penn and Brolin's performances are absolutely brilliant. Van Sant does an amazing job telling a story that needed to be told. RIP Harvey.
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