Monday, Nov. 03, 2008


Affable and driven, Harvey Milk was a San Francisco politician who succeeded by inspiring crowds rather than making backroom deals. The country's first gay city supervisor, he used his energy and intelligence to help homosexuals secure civil rights. This exceptional docudrama — written by Darren Lance Black, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn — covers the last eight years of Milk's life, which ended when he was shot by fellow supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin). Penn, who’s in nearly every scene, manages the neat trick of merging his star personality with the public figure well known from the 1984 documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. Sunny, pushy and convincingly gay, Penn embodies a man hopeful for the future of his fellows but dreading what he believes is awaiting him. A how-to exercise in marshalling dozens of characters and one big political issue into exemplary, edifying entertainment, Milk is a must-see, right now.