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"A many-faceted portrait of those individuals who sought radical solutions to social problems in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. It cuts back and forth between six major story lines and more than fifty characters, and across a vast landscape, to explore the lifestyles and attitudes of the American left who faced both personal and hhistorical transitions in the period following the Vietnam War." Written by
Laurence Kardish, Museum of Modern Art
While Milestones is ostensibly about the years following a historical movement, and the film does very much take place in the ashes of the 60s, it is a film of tragic specificity and genuine intimacy that reveals more to the viewer than political or social agenda. The film is remarkably successful because it tunnels through the superficial, and it achieves feelings of both documentary and fiction (it has to be both documentary and fiction, because there is a major moment towards the end of the film that could only have been partially staged), spreading out across human experience, examining stories of betrayal, redemption, bonding, sacrifice, disappointment, and hope. It has stories of beginnings and ends, family stories, stories between friends, lovers - I don't think there is any other film with such an amazing diversity of characters and situations with such meaningful focus on each character.
This large ensemble narrative, then, which possesses a narrative that is both indifferent and engaging, is special for having a structure emblematic of its major social intention. While a film may be about caring, it seems that this film is about caring and does care.
Describing the actual film would be a matter of detailing the myriad of characters' paths, and I won't do that for you because the mystery of the journey is part of the fun of the film, but I will say that some of the characters are: a three person hippie family unit searching for a place of true meaning out across the roads of America, a commune that feels similar to Moodysson's much later film Together, a father trying to find a relationship with his son he left behind years ago, an elderly woman who has worked her entire life, a pregnant woman, a man wanted for murder in a way similar to Days of Heaven, a blind potter, a gentle, sincere radical recently released from prison, and a musician trying to make living money. They come to mean so much more though, than that I can describe.
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