milkWe continue Reel Charlie’s brief look at Hollywood for Pride month with Gus Van Sant’s film, Milk. The biopic on Harvey Milk won Sean Penn a Best Actor award and Dustin Lance Black the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. What a difference twelve years makes between The Birdcage and Milk. Gone are the stereotypes and laugh tracks. In their place we experience the birth of a civil rights movement as Harvey Milk moves from NYC to San Francisco during the 1970’s to discover his place in the world and history. Milk became the first openly gay elected official in California. He only served eleven months as City Supervisor, but managed to pass a strong Gay Rights civil rights bill locally for San Francisco in the midst of a huge nationwide backlash to LGBT rights. Harvey would have been 85 had he lived to see the Supreme Court rule on marriage equality this year. In the cinematic version of his life, Sean Penn did an outstanding job getting into Harvey’s skin becoming the slightly dorky, slightly sexy, passionate man who would be immortalized as a leader for the LGBT civil rights movement. Milk is a tight, sophisticated, great big loud Hollywood movie. And it’s all about gay people. And it’s based on a true story! And it won awards and a lot of people saw it and now know Harvey’s name. Bravo to Van Sant and Black for taking on this project. We need more mainstream LGBT films that teach us our history and show us who we were and how we got to today. 5 out of 5 for this beautiful tribute to Harvey.


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