My husband and I had the great luck to get tickets to the premiere of the film “MILK” at a packed Castro Theater last month. The film is directed by Gus Van Sant, stars Sean Penn (as Harvey Milk) and was produced by Focus Features (producers of “Brokeback Mountain”) so we went in thinking that it wasn’t going to be a waste of two hours… and we were right.
The film chronicles the story of Harvey Milk who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, becoming the first openly gay man elected to public office in America. Milk was murdered by Dan White in 1978.
The film focuses on the last eight years of Harvey’s life. It opens with with Milk picking up Scott Smith (James Franco), the man who would become his partner. It is the eve of Milk’s 40th birthday and he is living in New York. Shortly thereafter Milk and Smith relocate to San Francisco where Harvey begins his journey as a neighborhood activist and ultimately the first gay politician.
I felt like I went into the film knowing a lot about Harvey Milk. I had seen “The Times of Harvey Milk” and countless other documentaries about the gay movement that included his story, but I’ve never seen a movie with such an intimate and heartfelt look into his life.