In what is Director Gus Van Sant’s best film to date (and one certain to drive cultural conservatives batty), “Milk” charts the political rise of 1970s gay activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in U.S. history despite three prior hard-fought (but failed) campaigns in San Francisco-area elections.
While obviously dramatized, “Milk” has clear connections to politics today, particularly in the recent California state referendum over Proposition 8. There is also nary a weak performance in the film, least of all by Sean Penn in the title role, whom I am now convinced should win his Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
In many respects, “Milk” is both a tragic docudrama and quiet political thriller. It is also certainly among the best films I have seen in the past year.
I highly recommend it.