I saw the movie Milk yesterday - finally! It was amazing in every way - the story, the acting, the writing, the costumes.
Just in case you have been living under a rock for the past 6 months, the movie tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold a high public office in the city of San Francisco. Supported by the love of his life he embarks on a decade's worth of activism in which he fiercely, ferociously and fearlessly fought bigotry and discrimination against the gay community. During the 1970s there were iniatives brought in several states that would allow not only gay people to be fired from their jobs, but also those who support the gay community.
Harvey Milk, along with a large group of activist friends ran for office three times unsuccessfully, but finally was elected the fourth time around. There's no question that he did a lot to improve the situation for millions of gay people across the U.S., but he did it at a great personal sacrifice - he lost the love of his life.
It is an inspirational story all on its own, but it is made even more so by the fantastic acting done by the entire cast. Each actor portrayed his character wholeheartedly and believably. I didn't see one falter, and that's rare. I can usually find something wrong with every movie. At the end of the movie, they showed the picture of each character in real life and it was amazing how each character looked so much like their real-life counterpart.
Emile Hirsch was fantastic, as was Josh Brolin. And James Franco was beautiful and emotional. But the prize (in my book and Oscar's) goes to Sean Penn. He was perfect. I'm not always a Sean Penn fan. I think he's an arrogant and embarassing person in real life (this is not based only on what I've read in magazines, but based on my personal relationship with him of course). But whatever he may be, there's no denying his acting talent. I was completely sucked in.
I usually judge movies by how much I cry - I consider the amount of tears as evidence of how much the movie touched my emotions. When I saw Benjamin Button (one of my favorite movies of last year), I cried for half of the movie, and I was emotionally caught up in the story. But when I saw Milk I only shed a tear or two right at the end.
I think a different test is in order here. When I saw Benjamin Button, I thought about the movie the rest of the evening. It's a full 24 hours later, and I can't stop thinking about the movie Milk.
It's the type of movie that will stay with you for days, because it's a great story, well told, and well acted. Without the triple threat it would have been merely a good movie. With the combination of all three it is superb. No matter your views on homosexuality, your life will be improved by seeing this brilliant film.
P.S. This has nothing to do with Milk, but I am watching Finding Neverland right now, and I had forgotten how amazing this movie is. This is a movie to be judged by the amount of tears it causes - I've seen it several times, and I'm still crying.