Blu-ray Milk [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 4636455),
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MILK is director Gus Van Sant's riveting biopic about slain gay rights activist and San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk. Based on the politically resonant and thoroughly timely screenplay of documentarian Dustin Lance Black, Van Sant follows the arc of Milk's political awakening, from closeted Brooklyn insurance executive to doyen of San Francisco's Castro district's burgeoning gay mecca in the 1970s. Sean Penn portrays the film's hero, melting into the role with an affable flamboyance that is both spirited and eminently engaging. James Franco plays opposite Penn as Milk's supportive and easygoing boyfriend, Scott Smith. The couple's cheerful and loving rapport lends buoyancy to the film's overall message of hope as Milk ascends from grassroots community organizer to a galvanizing figurehead in the push for gay civil liberties. When Moral Majority crusader Anita Bryant forms an initiative to root out gay teachers and their supporters from public schools (Proposition 6), Milk is pitted in a bitter battle against fellow City Hall supervisor Dan White, played by Josh Brolin. While Van Sant does not deviate from the expository conventions that have defined other biopics, MILK sticks to biographically pertinent details that serve the film's underlying message of one man's idealism and conviction in the face of repression and bigotry.
Academy Awards Best Actor 2009 Sean Penn Actor, Director
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay 2009 Dustin Lance Black Director/Star, ON THE BUS
- for language, some sexual content and brief violence
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 62105869
Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Diego Luna
"[T]he filmmakers have crucially infused the story with qualities in very short supply today -- gentleness and a humane embrace of all its characters..."
4 stars out of 4 -- "It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "MILK has one of the finest ensemble casts this year and a magnificent, career-topping performance by Sean Penn, who disappears into the title role."
"Penn, as we've come to expect, is extremely persuasive as someone with a different, more offbeat kind of charisma than many of his previous screen roles....Franco is a nice match for him....It's a powerful story."
Los Angeles Times
"Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. MILK is a marvel....A fascinating, multi-layered history lesson."
New York Times
"Gus Van Sant's incisive and stirring dramatization of Harvey Milk's heroic life and violent death....MILK is a fascinating film..." -- Grade: A-
"MILK tells Harvey Milk's story as one of a transformed life, a victory for individual freedom over state persecution, and a political and social cause."
Ranked #1 in Rolling Stone's 'Movies Of The Year' -- "[A] true political film. It finds its bristling purpose in humanity, not ideology."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's apparent Van Sant was making any and all efforts to bring Milk's story as close to it origin points as possible. The authenticity this Oregon native provides is palpable and, at times, breathtaking."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[Penn] finds sufficient space amid the historical milestones to hint at the intensely private pain that underpins Milk's mission."
Included in Entertainment Weekly's 2008 Films Of The Year -- "The movie becomes a stirring primer on the participatory political process, and an unspoken exhortation to get involved."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Gus Van Sant's earnest, lucid biopic is more than a portrait of one man. It's also a snapshot of his times..."
"[T]he first great film to look at civil rights from the perspective of the gay movement....It transcends any single genre as a very human document that touches first and foremost on the need to give people hope."
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Gus Van Sant
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