on a chilly saturday evening, A and i went on a cozy double date to the movie theater to see
it's not your typical date movie. it's far from a romantic comedy. and we didn't exactly walk out of the theater with amused smiles on our faces. but for four politically conscious and relatively intellectual young men in Philly, it was a great way to spend an evening. and i recommend that you spend one the same way. (double date optional.)
in case you ain't heard, MILK is a biographical film that chronicles the political rise and tragic fall of Harvey Milk, while also giving us a glimpse into a pivotal time at the beginning of the ongoing gay civil rights movement.
Milk (played by Sean Penn) was a closeted, middle-aged corporate New Yorker who, at the age of 40, finally cracked. after moving across the country and setting up his hippie shop in San Fran, Milk could no longer tolerate the bigotry and harassment faced by his peeps. he quickly rose to political power in the '70s by reaching out to homos in San Francisco, and became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. true story, y'all!
Milk's story is both upsetting and inspiring. upsetting due to the fate of Harvey Milk; inspiring because the way the gay civil rights movement took shape and the way Milk united his community can motivate and teach all of us, gay and straight alike. i think director Gus Van Sant makes it abundantly clear that it isn't just about gays; it's about what's right. it's about all our rights.
i won't give away the ending, just in case you've been living in a cave and don't already know. but i will tell you that when we left the theater, there were more wet eyes than dry staring solemnly at the screen. people lingered. some older homes even sobbed. it was, to say the least, a moving film.
unlike many of my co-viewers, i left the theater neither depressed nor discouraged. rather, i felt empowered by, as well as grateful for, all that our predecessors did to advance our equality and to raise awareness for a group once forced into hiding.
P.S. another reason to check out the film is to witness the mad skills of all the actors. Sean Penn's performance is already being called "remarkable" and possibly his best ever. the film in general currently has a 93% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes (93% on there is nothing short of miraculous!!!). i have to say that i was impressed with all the performances, across the board.
do yourself (and your cold, jaded heart) a favor and go see MILK. it'll inspire you, and you'll probably even cry. and that's okay.
P.P.S. i am now obsessed with Emile Hirsch, but -- i've decided, upon extensive Google image searching -- ONLY when he sports the crazy hair and huge nerd glasses of Cleve Jones: