Sean Penn plays the title character with great heart. It is hard not to fall in love with him, which is probably true of his real life counterpart as well. It's a valiant performance by Mr. Penn, which I'm sure will translate to an Oscar nomination soon enough.
With actors such as Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O'Hare, Joseph Cross, Stephen Spinella, and even High School Musical alum Lucas Grabeel, there is not one weak link in this ensemble cast. Everyone gives a passionate performance, all working towards the same goal of creating a beautiful film.
The events in the movie are frighteningly relevant. The cruel treatment of the gay community is alive and well to this day. The attempt to legally make homosexuals second-class citizens especially rings true. Harvey Milk famously battled the Briggs Initiative, aka Proposition 6. This proposition would put into motion the firing of gay teachers as well as pro-gay teachers. Prop 6 was ultimately defeated, but it is impossible for today's audiences not to ponder what happened recently in California with the passing of Proposition 8. If this movie had been released before polls opened this year, would the outcome have been any different?
So much hope beams through this movie, and that's what makes Milk so beautiful. This hope is not just for the gay community but for the entire nation. There is hope that one day we can all accept each other's differences and embrace them. Harvey Milk taught us that it just takes one step at a time. Milk is not a tragedy; it's an inspiration.
Please, do yourselves a favor and go see Milk. It is certainly one of the year's best. And if you care to, Netflix the Oscar-winning documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk. It's yet another wonderful, honest film that is worth seeing.
I will leave you with Prop 8 - The Musical. If you haven't seen it yet, you're welcome.
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