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December 05, 2008



One of my guy friends (who, for the record, is straight and not usually dealing with violent tendencies) said he saw a screening the other night and when they left the theater he felt like punching every other straight person in the face; it was that good.
House of Jules


Aw. I'm gonna see it with my BF.


I LOVED Milk, and i'm not gay. I was moved by the protest scenes, the acting was amazing, it's a terribly interesting heartbreaking story and it's wonderfully directed and shot. This movie is not just speaking to the converted, don't sell it short.


oh man. having lived in SF for most of my adult life, I'm always happy to see the city and its politicians and history on the big screen. I also had a big argument with my in-laws over the movie (which I haven't gotten to see yet) but I'm glad you liked it.

"It's hard enough to use your head in a situation that speaks to your heart."

good thing we've got both. :)


I am a straight, married woman, and I saw Milk this past weekend in San Francisco. I can't remember being more affected by a movie in the last few years. I was completely inspired by the fact that everything Harvey Milk accomplished was done in the last 8 years of his life. It took less than a decade to create change on a massive level. It made me take a look at my life and dust off some old dreams that I had started to think I was too old to attempt. Also, even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I couldn't stop crying...even long after the credits stopped rolling. What happened to Harvey was so pointless, and the sadness over it just enveloped me. I don't think I've cried so much since I saw E.T. (you know the part where they make you think he's dead??) when I was 5 years old.

Anyway, I guess my point is that I think there's something in this movie for anyone with an open mind and heart, no matter your gender, age or sexual orientation.


This is the best review of Milk I've read so far. Your last paragraph is golden, and I agree with you a 100% about the exposure part. Thanks so much for writing this.

Joe M

This movie has been in the works for ages and it comes out right after Prop 8 passes. Perfect! About time this community woke up and got angry. I hope it's focused anger, I really do. I have not seen "Milk" but I am planning to, it looks terrific. I highly recommend to anyone who has seen this film to go out and rent "The Mayor of Castro Street", a documentary I watched with my father over 15 yrs ago well before I even came to the conclusion that I was a big 'ol Mo and was bewildered that my truck driving, Italian father from Chicago's Taylor Street would have a positive reaction to this man's short, powerful, uber-gay life. Courage begats courage, I guess. I am hoping Sean Penn is naked in this film. I've been waiting for him to mack on another dude for ages now. Shallow, I know. But not a lie.


You're crazy, Emile Hirsch was fantastic as Cleve Jones. He brought a much needed lightness to the movie.

As an accomplished SF fag hag I must say say I was bawling by the end of this thing. Its not about being gay, its about being human and being treated fairly.

The parallels between the movie and what's happening now in CA with prop 8 were alarming. I wish there was someone like Harvey around today to run the No on 8 campaign. We've come a log way but we still have far to go.

Kisses to Winnie and Rudy.

Miss Lisa

"The Times of Harvey Milk" documentary by Rob Epstein is one of the most emotionally moving films I've ever seen. I cry just thinking about it. Partly because I grew up in the Bay Area and was in high school when he and Mayor Moscone were killed. If this film is even a tenth as moving, it's well worth it. Thanks for the review. I'll pay full price and have another cry...


1. Write a book. PLEASE.
2. " Its not about being gay, its about being human and being treated fairly."--Niffer
Which is where the "special rights" argument falls apart.
3. This just got bumped to the top of my Date Night list.
4. When the "This is mere Oscar-bait" comments roll in, we should all link the commenter to this review.
5. You are a fucking genius.


I saw this movie a few weeks ago...I walked into the screening not having very much knowledge about Harvey Milk. It was brilliant, I cried (I've only cried at two other movies), the movie served it's purpose. It entertained, it informed, it evoked emotion.

I'm definitely buying it when it comes out.


I have to say, it might not be the most poignant sentence of this entry relative to the overall theme, but I think "I'm cynical enough to dislike pop culture that aligns with my ideals if the outcome is muddled or overly broad (like Crash or Maya Angelou's poetry or PETA)." is straight-up brilliant.

You're a smartie pants, Rich.


I was able to see it at the Castro Theatre last week and it was such an event. It was so great being there, to be so close to that history. The only other time I actually felt such resonance at a place was at Check Point Charlie in Berlin. I might have been swept up in the moment that I didn't give the film too much of my attention. That and seeing Jeff Koons playing Art Agno. Koons has been haunting me since the beginning of the year.

I thought Sean Penn did a good job, but again, I knew I was watching Penn and that was annoying. Milk seemed like just a character through Penn. However, I do like that the movie didn't make him out to be a complete saint. Aside from his lust for men, the did show a bit of lust for power. I'm sure if Milk was not assassinated he would have done much much more to advance the movement, but the movie made me think that he could have corrupted himself with the power he was gaining.

I have seen the Milk documentary and find it to be more interesting, the biopic, however, had so much heart and strength. I think it was a great point you made about how the movie is exposing a gay figure. It is a great source of inspiration. Even though I rarely feel connected to existing, dominant gay community (who was most of the people present at the movie), this movie made me feel some connection which I can always hold. God,that was a great event.


From the SF Chronicle review:

"Yes, Milk led a crusade that involved physical risk, and the real Harvey Milk did make tapes (in 1977) to be played in the event of his assassination. But it would be stretching things to say Milk was killed because he was gay. His death was more like a fluke, part of a macabre workplace crime that also robbed the city of its mayor. It's evidence of the film's effectiveness, its power to incite emotion, that Milk's death is made to feel like the inevitable consequence of his being a visionary."

I just thought that was an excellent paragraph, thats all. What a wonderful film.


youve probably seen it already, but for anyone who hasnt - watch the documentary: 'the life & times of harvey milk'. so touching and brilliant. im certain it has spoiled me from ever giving the van sant film an un-bias look.

but the footage of the spontaneous memorials..... i cry every time.

the real harvey milk was a pretty amazing guy. he deserved a film. i hope this one does him some justice.


A wonderful review, and echoes much of what my sympathetic (and Christian, go fig) straight friend said after he saw a screening at the venerable Castro last month. Totes going to check this out, even with Diego Luna apparently chowing down on scenery. That's a shame, I rather dig his man/boy-ness otherwise.


Great review, as always, Rich. Saw it last night and am so happy to have read your review beforehand. I agree with everyone you said and admire your honest, witty writing.


saw this last night. i'm straight, but not narrow. it was ah-mazing. wish this had come out before the election, so prop 8 might have turned out differently... great review, rich. go see this film!


Okay, so I heard there was a movie about the gay movement. I was immediately excited. I'm gay! This is a movie about people like me! And there were three women with lines. Three. Total. One lesbian. This was not a movie about me.

Now don't get me wrong, the acting was amazing. I cried at about five different points in the film. I really did love it, despite my complaints. My main problem is how everyone comes from this movie saying, "Oh, you'll love it. I really understand where you're coming from now!" About a movie where I'm not really represented.

But then, in a male dominated culture I guess it makes sense that we have to make active moves to understand the males before we even touch on the feminine aspect. Still. Someday I hope to have seen more than two movies about lesbians.


Rich, what did you think of how gays were portrayed in the movie? To be honest, i think that the director sort of made them seem unnecessarily slutty sometimes. I mean, sure, maybe Harvey Milk was like that, picking up men in subways, but sometimes it just seemed like a bit much, didn't it? i wish i could remember a more specific detail that gave me this perception but i can't, poo. what do you think?


I saw this today with my bf, and when we walked into the theater, all I saw were many middle-aged to elderly men sitting alone, with one or two sitting in pairs. It made me wonder who they were, especially since we were in a pretty rich, conservative city.
Anyway, to Egoingnowhere, I think there were few lesbians because in the 70s gay movement, there was a split between men and women, that didn't heal until the AIDS crisis (i've been watching a lot of gay history documentaries lately)


Another movie people should check out is Diddy's new I AM KING video promoting his new fragrance, I AM KING (i'm pretty sure its only available at Macy'S). But seriously, it's not as good as Batman, but its still pretty sick. CHeck it out and pick up a bottle of I AM KING @ Macys.



"a gay figure as inspiring and visible as the Malcoms and Martins"


Matos W.K.

Re: "unnecessarily slutty"--it's important to keep in mind the time and place of the action--S.F. in the '70s, a period when EVERYONE was slutty, gay and straight alike. It was the height of the sexual revolution, don't forget, and S.F. was one of the major hotbeds (cough) of the action (cough cough).

I liked Hirsch more than you did, Rich, and found Luna really distracting, but no matter--it's a great, great movie and I definitely cried a few times. What I was most impressed by (besides Penn and Franco, who had serious chemistry--a lot of the story to me was in Franco's admiring looks at Penn, even as he grew disenchanted as his man became completely embroiled in politics) was the way Van Sant's tics, usually distracting to me, meshed with the material. I don't know whether it being a historical-biopic reined in GVS's more showy tendencies or if those tendencies helped juice a stagy format, but either way I was very impressed by it simply as filmmaking.

Killer post as always, obv.


There are more gay women in the documentary, which I hope will be given a boost by this film.

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