Using flashbacks from a statement recorded late in life and archival footage for atmosphere, this film traces Harvey Milk's career from his 40th birthday to his death. He leaves the closet and New York, opens a camera shop that becomes the salon for San Francisco's growing gay community, and organizes gays' purchasing power to build political alliances. He runs for office with lover Scott Smith as his campaign manager. Victory finally comes on the same day Dan White wins in the city's conservative district. The rest of the film sketches Milk's relationship with White and the 1978 fight against a statewide initiative to bar gays and their supporters from public school jobs.Written by
I never vibrated together with Van Sant, but this time I must say he convinced me.
The main merit of "Milk" is that it conveys A MORAL PRINCIPLE - in an extraordinarily powerful, and stylish too, way. Or, as it's also stated: "What matters is the fight, more than the outcome!" The script, very dense and well organized, follows the fastidious steps of building up a message, at the same time respecting the ingrate historic chronology - the perpetual dilemma of the docudrama. All around this structure, the direction skilfully grows-up the flesh of the human content, social layers and ethical matters. It turns out a definite lesson of movie-making, for all to see and learn.
I should also add that my country, Romania, is just passing through the historical stage that "Milk" is depicting: pushing homophobia into obsolescence and reaching normality. As such, initially our rating commission came with a positively ludicrous decision: banning "Milk" for the 18- audiences, because (hear this, as a pearl of idiocy!) "It makes propaganda for a certain sexual orientation!" I gave them a piece of my mind, in my own review, pointing out that the movie only MAKES PROPAGANDA FOR MORALS, so it should be recommended to ALL AGES AUDIENCES, no matter how young! In the end, after an official complain, they relented and lowered the rating to "not recommended to under-15". Still silly, but one can't have it all, can we? Thank God, audiences who don't care about this movie will ignore it, and those who do, will see it nonetheless. And become better human beings.
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