Movie Review: Milk
What if the hot film at the moments core stands against everything that you believe? If you have that same problem, then welcome to my review of Milk.
Readers, a lot of you are not going to agree with me and this spoiler-review will make you mad. If you can deal with it then please continue with this review, If you can not, then I ask you to stop now and see this film when it arrives in Korea.
Now this film deals with Harvey Milk, if you do not know who he was then please click on this link so you will have an idea who Mr. Milk was in life.
Mr Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. The murder of Mr. Milk, along with the Mayor of San Fransisco George Moscone by Dan White in 1978 caused the State flag of California to be lowered to half staff in memory. When a film about a famous man is made, we the audience must ask, not how he died, but how did he live?
I knew the story of Harvey Milk before I saw the film, I knew exactly what he was and what Mr. Milk stood for. This is the problem that I have with this film. For some readers the man loved who he wanted to love, so myself and other readers, the man lived in sin and died in sin.
Recently, a fellow college of mine at Woosong University debated this exact topic. After 20 minutes he had not changed my opinion nor I had changed his, we agreed to disagree. If you can not figure out our debate then the I will pose the question to you, Is Homosexuality a sin? Your answer could determine weather you like this film or not.
Readers, I debated weather or not I should write a neutral based review. Then I remembered a lesson that a teacher told me many years ago. If you teach or try and write for everyone, in the end you will write of teach to no one but yourself.
So let us deal with the movie. We are introduced to Harvey Milk as he meets a man, who will become his love time lover Scott. We are then shown a man who tried to establish a camera store and is told by people that if "His Kind" sets up shop that he will be shut down. This soon becomes Mr. Milk's first entry into business and he finds out which businesses are Gay friendly and his friends will shop their, if they are not then they will not shop their and then the business would fail.
Its also the same time that the Teamsters come to Mr. Milk and ask his to support a boycott of Coors Beer because they will not sign a union contract. Harvey gets the Gay bars to stop selling Coors and the Coors beer sales drop dramatically in San Francisco.
The rest of the film deals with the rise of Harvey Milk, his loves, his rise to power and his becoming the first openly gay man in the United States to win an election for public office. This is also the time that Dan White is really introduced into the film. Dan and Harvey have a falling out over a political issue and, in the end, Mr. White resign his local government seat.
Now what the film failed to include was that before the murder of Mr. Milk, was that on November 18, 1978 news broke of the murder of California Representative Leo Ryan, who was in Jonestown, Guyana to check on the community built by members of the Peoples Temple who had relocated from San Francisco. The next day came news of the mass suicide of members, the final total was over 900. The city was dealing with the news of this event, just getting worse day by day. (I have no idea why this was not shown in the film)
There had been extra security placed by the mayor, because of the Jonestown suicides, to protect against exactly what happened next. The film shows Mr White entering through City Hall's front door but in actuality, Dan White entered City Hall through a basement window to avoid metal detectors and made his way to Mayor Moscone's office. Witnesses then heard shouting between White and Moscone, then gunshots. White shot the mayor once in the arm, then three times in the head after Moscone had fallen on the floor. White then quickly walked to his former office, reloading his police-issue revolver with hollow-point bullets along the way, and intercepted Harvey Milk, asking him to step inside for a moment. Mr. Milk was found face down on the floor, shot five times, including twice in the head at close range.
(If you did see the film Half Nelson one of the students gives a speech about 2 murders and how the defendant claimed that he did the murders due to too much junk food, area newspapers quickly dubbed it the "Twinkie" defense. After the student gave his speech he could not believe what he had just spoken. If you remember the film, the Dan White trial is what the story was based on)
The film ends with a candle light memorial for both of the victims of Mr White. During the credits you learn what happened to certain people that were included in this film.
So readers, you will have to decide what you think about the main question that was posed earlier in this review. Is Homosexuality a sin? If it is then you are going to have a very had time with this film. If you do not believe that it is a sin, then you are going to enjoy the great acting jobs done by Sean Penn, James Franco and Josh Brolin.
I did not like the film overall mainly, due to the topic. I know people that practice this sin and I pray for the sinners that the repent and become washed anew.
If you have noticed I have never used the word hate anywhere in this review nor should anyone hate because they are different. I saw at the age of 6, in Munich, West Germany 1972, what hate can do and I saw it once again September 11, 2001 with over 2000 people killed because of hate. we should nor can we hate because people are different. My side of the argument has forgotten that part. We should love all of our brothers and pray for them. This is what God commands, love, not hate.
Sorry to ramble but that part needed to be said in this review.
I will not grade this film. You have to decide this one for yourselves. It would not surprise me to see Oscar nominations being received for this film.
Harvey Milk: "My name is Harvey Milk—and I want to recruit you."
Opens in Korea. (No Date at the time of this review)
How I saw the film: DVD Award Screener