1194233Official Site: Milk

Swanner: As the end of the year gets closer the movies get better. It’s award season and the studios start to bring out their “Oscar worthy titles”. Up to this point we haven’t seen those films surfacing till now. Milk is the first really contender out of the gates. Milk is Gus Van Sant’s new film that follows the political life of the first openly gay politician, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. The film follows him from Castro business man to City Hall to his murder in 1978 by fellow Supervisor Dan White.

Judd: Focus Features pulled out all the stops for this one. Sean Penn is Milk, Josh Brolin is Dan White, Victor Garber as Mayor Moscone and Gus Van Sant directs. There is also a slew of young actors that this movie is going to change their careers. James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Allison Pill, and Joseph Cross are all going to be seen as “serious actors” after this, and rightfully so.

Swanner: The cast is amazing, these actors are all obviously passionate about this project and it radiates off the screen. Sean Penn so fully embodies Harvey Milk that the film starts to look more like a documentary on Milk’s life. That’s not to say it’s not a complete film…it is, but by the end you definitely feel like you have been marching by these people sides through it all. James Franco is the emotional heart of the film and Josh Brolin brings to the screen a Dan White that i actually felt bad for…and i never thought I’d say that. The screenplay by Dustin Lucas Black is Brilliant, I was exhausted from the range of emotions that Black and Van Sant were able to pull from me. Milk will be the movie that defines Gus Van Sant’s career as a great director and definitely makes him the front runner for the Oscar.

Judd: I would say that Milk is the Brokeback of bio pics. I truly believe that Milk will end up in the library of every movie loving homo out there. I think the reason the movie feels so much like a documentary is because of the authentic footage that was seamlessly blended into the film. News clips and street shots of Castro gave the movie an extremely authentic feel. You can see the excitement, joy and sorrow on the people’s faces at the place and time of the movie. It makes 30 years ago seem very current.

Swanner: I love that all the young gays and lesbians will see this film and find out about Harvey Milk and see how he had championed gay rights and how different their lives would be without Harvey and the people he surrounded himself with. The film also highlights the fight to defeat the Briggs initiative which mirrors the current Prop 8 ban of gay marriage. 30 years after the murder of Harvey Milk the gay community is still struggling with discrimination but maybe Milk will inspire a new generation of activist. I think Milk is by far the best picture of the year, Van Sant and company have set the bar very high for the rest of this season contenders and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the winner’s circle come Oscar night.

Swanner: 5 Stars
Judd: 5 Stars

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