Reviewed on 2009 March 27
Moving and (to the best of my knowledge) accurate account of Harvey Milk’s rise as a Castro District political force.
After some archival film of ’50s-era raids on gay bars, the story starts with Harvey (Sean Penn), speaking into a microphone of what should happen in the event of his demise. He recounts how he lamented his fortieth birthday, feeling he had nothing to show for it accept a cake and Scott Smith (James Franco), his new boyfriend, to share it with. They move to the Castro District and open a shop, and from there Harvey decides to make a difference, fighting for gay rights and getting into politics. One day he walks onto the corner and stands on a soapbox, greeting people with “I’m Harvey Milk and I’m here to recruit you,” and from there his career snowballs. One of the biggest battle he faces is against Proposition 6, but to tell you more about that would be to ruin the movie for you.
Sean Penn is usually like a bunch of bamboo shoots under my fingernails, on every level, but here, I could ignore the fact he was Sean Penn. His portrayal of Harvey was likable and funny; enough that during the run time of the movie I could almost forget his idiocy with Hugo Chavez. James Franco was also great as Scott Smith. I also liked the use of opera and the vintage soundtrack (though wish there was even more of that) and the photographs at the end too.
Three chocolate morsels.