- Gus Van Sant
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, February 26, 2009
No, the greatest asset of this fine film is that itís fun. Or should I say entertaining, or exciting? Perhaps the three things. Weíre so enthralled by this guyís life adventures from the point in which he turns 40 and realizes that he isnít proud of anything he has ever done, that we overlook the density of his actions. He turns his life upside down, moves to San Francisco with his partner, and makes history. How it happens, and how this guy reacts to it, is amazing, and amazingly shown, in a film that despite its repetitiveness is over much too soon and leaves us wanting more, and in the end, makes us realize that what we just saw is the portrait of a hero who never even considered himself one.
Dustin Lance Blackís script does make him that way, but subtly, by not focusing strictly on that. It tells its tale quickly, passionately, never forgetting that the man whose life weíre witnessing was so likable no one could resist him, but wasnít that way because he wanted to but because he simply was like that. And Iím thanking the Gods on Mount Olympus for making one of our most gifted actors somewhat similar physically, because he was such an obvious choice for the role and fiercely grasped it, disappearing in it, giving it his everything, portraying a gay man like I had never seen one, so true to his nature itís hard to believe itís actually an actor doing the study of another man; itís just astonishing.
The real-life story is quite something to put on film, and Iím happy that now that itís been done (though it had before as a documentary), itís been done so well. Harvey Milk changes his life around and is in for a wild ride: after moving to San Francisco and opening a business in the homosexual haven of Castro Street, heís taken aback by the fact that his people are nevertheless rejected by lawmen and fellow business owners. Almost witlessly starting a campaign against such discrimination, he finds incredible support, and becomes inevitably drawn towards politics, where he achieves the eventual position of Supervisor, becoming the first openly gay man to be elected to office in the United States of America, which is no little task, or one to be forgotten.
The story chronicles Milkís career in politics, from small to big time, while delving into his personal life as it slowly merged with his professional one until they were indistinguishable. Thatís because Milk never betrayed his personality in bed or in office. He was always who he was. His personal relationships, for instance, are a tribute to his big heart: after breaking up with Scott Smith (James Franco), his partner at the time of his political beginnings, he never quits his friendship with him, and itís clear that heís done that younger man a lot of good; on the other hand, after he goes wild for Jack Lira (Diego Luna), a depressive youngster whoís pathologically jealous of Milkís career, he does everything to make Jack happy for the relationship to work, and despairs when none of it comes true, even though it was never in his control.
The most important relationship that the film builds is that of Milk and fellow supervisor Dan White, the clean-cut ex-cop whoís the stereotyped homophobic but somehow seems to be constantly finding ways to relate to Milk. The film suggests closeted homosexuality, and ends up severely punishing White, as he unwillingly gives Milk the ticket to immortality. In this role, Josh Brolin proves once again why heís one of the biggest rising stars of today. But letís not finish this with a note for an actor thatís not Sean Penn, one of the toughest, bravest and greatest actors alive. Bravo Sean.
Gon C Curiel en Twitter | CriticSociety en Twitter | CriticSociety en Facebook
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter