Monday night Fredo and I went to see Milk since it has finally come to the DC area. From what I heard from other folks, it was a movie worth seeing, it was going to hit you emotionally, and they were right.
To me the movie was a realistic portrayal of Harvey Milk. I knew some of the history about him and the Castro area based on some of my past research, but there was so much that was filled in that I didn't know about. None of the books I had ever really mentioned his long-time partner Scott, so that was a good detail for me to know.
Sean Penn does a good job playing Milk, he seemed to have gotten into the mind of the man, which was no easy feat considering that Milk was killed 30 years ago. Luckily from what I saw in the credits, there were many people who supported this movie and gave their time and stories, so that is probably what helped put together what really is a quality movie. It keeps on moving and doesn't drag anything out ad nauseum. I liked that they mixed real news footage with some footage they created so they could put the Sean Penn character in there as well.
One thing I had noticed in the movie was that some of Milk's speeches mentioned the word "hope" a lot. I wondered if this was based on speeches that Milk actually gave or if the writers were feeling just a wee bit inspired by the Obama campaign this year. I brought that up to Fredo and he thinks the movie speeches were from actual speeches because they would be on record somewhere.
By the time I was halfway through the movie, I was hooked, and very emotionally invested in the people, always wondering what was going to happen next. When I saw Anita Bryant show up on the screen and start in with her right wing religious bullshit, I actually growled a little bit without even consciously thinking about it. No one has gotten me to react like that before.
If you're familiar with the life of Harvey Milk, you know how this movie will end up, yet by the time it gets there, you will find yourself wishing that history had not gone the way it did. I myself was holding my breath through those final scenes and later I began to wonder, just what could have happened if history had not gone the way it did? Unfortunately we will never know.
What it boils down to is that this is a good movie, period, and after seeing it now I understand why people very much felt that it was snubbed for the Golden Globe nominations. It's not another pointless debate like the "controversy" when Crash took home an Oscar for Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain; Milk was a very good movie and it should have at least gotten a few more nominations than it did.
Go see it, no matter who you are, it's worth a look. I may have to go see it again before it leaves this theater. It's already in my Netflix queue as well.