Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Minor lesbian content/LGBT History
Short Take: His life changed history. His courage changed lives.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2008
Duration: 128 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: R
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O’Hare, Joseph Cross, Stephen Spinella, Lucas Grabeel, Brandon Boyce, Howard Rosenman, Kelvin Yu, Jeff Koons

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MilkUsing 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. (CJ)