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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb film, well-deserved Oscar, buy the DVD?
The only negative things that I would say about "Milk" are that neither sound nor vision leave you feeling that the DVD would not have been enough; although hearing "Queen Bitch" in HD audio quality was much appreciated! That aside we are dealing with a fantastic acting performance from Sean Penn, who seems to have studied the documentaries and found a way to be a Harvey...
Published on 7 July 2009 by Mr. Blu

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Milk DVD
I think the film is ok and being a gay woman I was interested in the politics of this film especially with it being made from true events. But although the politics made it a film worth watching it is set as an older film and long and boring. I have kept the film though as its a bit of history in the challenges gay people did and sometimes still do face.
Published 4 months ago by Ms. J. A. Tebenham


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb film, well-deserved Oscar, buy the DVD?, 7 July 2009
This review is from: Milk [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The only negative things that I would say about "Milk" are that neither sound nor vision leave you feeling that the DVD would not have been enough; although hearing "Queen Bitch" in HD audio quality was much appreciated! That aside we are dealing with a fantastic acting performance from Sean Penn, who seems to have studied the documentaries and found a way to be a Harvey Milk that is true to the real-life man without being a mere impersonation. Van Sant is a great director and he has everything on a tight leash here. The tempo of the film, the dialogue and the cinematographic construction of scenes show a master's touch. Penn is also surrounded by good performances, not least from Brolin as his eventual nemesis. In many ways the film is short on drama, since we know historically what he will achieve, and the film's opening makes it clear how it will end. But it is the sign of a good film when this doesn't matter, and it never matters here.

During the credits there is a nice montage sequence of footage showing the characters followed by their real-life originals. The film is by turns funny, witty, touching and powerful. I recommend it very strongly, but unless you are a Blu-Ray nut (and maybe even then) the DVD might be the wiser choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't knock it till you've tried it....the film people, the film!, 3 Feb 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
San Francisco in the early 1970s and Harvey Milk, an out of the closet gay man, wants to turn his new home on Castro Street into a bohemian refuge for like minded gays. Meeting resistance and witnessing the groundswell of hate towards his kind, Milk begins campaigning to be elected to public office, where he hopes he can alter the perceptions of the gay way of life. But as Milk's popularity grows, so does his national standing, and with that comes greater responsibilities, and perhaps, greater enemies.....

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to get voted into a major public office of America, that's not a spoiler, this is a fact, and this smart biography of the man charts his rise to that position....and what was to follow. Director Gus Van Sant clearly cared about this project {Milk known to be a hero of his}, and in truth it shows. Gone has the wishy washy feel of his overtly independent pictures, and in its place comes professional slickness backed up by one of 2008's great lead performances. Sean Penn has an habitual knack of rubbing people up the wrong way, often derided for his opinions and frowned upon for his perceived aggressive nature, it surely can only be the most stoic of Penn haters who can deny that the man has acting talent in abundance. Here as Harvey Milk he double layers the performance with impressive emotional urgency, so much so good is his performance, that after five minutes of film you forget that it's actually Penn playing a role, he has quite literally become Milk and in the process bagged another richly deserved Golden Statuette.

Tho to put Milk's winning charm purely down to Penn would be doing a big disservice to a fine supporting cast. Led by the ever excellent Josh Brolin {Dan White} and with impact turns coming from Emile Hirsch {Cleve Jones}, James Franco (Scott Smith) and Diego Luna (Jack Lira), it's with much credit that all of them are comfortable with the story and deliver such telling performances. So what quite stops Milk from being a modern day masterpiece? A piece of work to shine in this modern age of acceptance? Well for all its well crafted intention, and the easily accepted chest thumping for gay pride, it just fails to really knock down any doors {or open new ones in fact}. Van Sant's picture is a well informed snapshot of the times, and certainly raises some posers about politics and sexual preferences, but really it doesn't leave a lasting impression outside of Penn's sublime performance, and that kind of feels like a wasted opportunity to me.

But cest la vie, one thing I'm sure Van Sant will be pleased about, is that once viewed, Milk is a name that few will ever forget about, and maybe that was all Van Sant wanted to achieve in the first place? 8/10
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ignorance is bliss, 17 April 2009
By 
2cleverbyhalf (somewhere in the future) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
I really didn't know much about the real story of Mr Milk.. which meant I was really, really shocked by the ending (I imagined he'd been murdered by some lone nutcase).

But I was even more shocked by how much I enjoyed Milk. It's great fun, Penn does a fantastic job (for once an Oscar worth giving) and manages to get across a charming fella with a few flaws but a lust for life that you can imagine was highly infectious to those around him.

In fact, it's a pretty flawless film all round. Which, given that it's about the life and times of an American gay politician 30 years ago.. is all the more astounding. Great film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 28 July 2010
By 
Mr. Pj Williams (cardiff uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
a masterful portrayal of the characters by all actors involved. and engaging plot and you get to learn something about a little known piece of American history ( I am welsh so it was to me) and its current issues with the subject. loved it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine, passionate homage to the story of a great man., 20 May 2009
By 
D. Gari (Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
If you haven't seen this movie, you should watch it. When you have, you'll simply know it's worth buying the dvd.

I'll try not to repeat things already said by the other reviewers...

I just wanted to say that this movie tells the true story of a man who really changed things for one of the most historically discriminated kind of human beings (probably only second to women)...
And it does tell this story truthfully and respectfully. I imagine Gus Van Sant and the script writer must have known Milk's story very well, and after watching the documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" I suspect that might've been one of the major sources for transcribing original speeches actually told by Harvey Milk when he was alive.
Anyway the film transpires passion. I truly believe all the actors, the writer, the director put their heart into doing this. You can feel it.

I cried twice throughout the movie the first time I saw it.
I think it changed me in some way. Made me feel like it's my own responsibility to stand up and speak up for my own rights. Made me feel like it's not just a common place but a truth that things can change if you try hard and don't give up at the first difficulties.

However this movie is not only beautiful for the power of its message: it is solidly and elegantly directed, the photography is very good, the actors are great (Sean Penn here deserved at least a Nobel Prize and Emile Hirsh is superb, but all the cast is absolutely convincing).
There is not a weak scene in the whole movie, it flows smoothly, it's perfectly balanced. It goes from triumphant to intimate, from whisper to screaming crowd. It has some really memorable shots as well. To cut it short, it has everything you ask from a masterpiece.

Please watch it, you'll love it, I guarantee.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am here to recruit you!, 5 Feb 2009
By 
Ford Ka (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
"My name is Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you!"
This is simply a must-have movie - great director doing his best (notably better than his last), a bunch of great actors doing their best (Sean Penn hasn't done is so well for quite a while, James Franco is simply sweet), superb camera-work (parts of the movie look like original 70s footage), and screenplay based on a great true story which makes the best of it - can you ask for more?
The film concentrates on the final years of Harvey Milk's life - the chronology is a little twisted (we know that Milk's going to die from the beginning and the events are commented by Milk himself who makes a memoir-like tape-recording in the final days before his death) but Van Sant probably couldn't help giving it this little twist. We first meet Milk when he picks up a new boyfriend in New York on his 40th birthday, and he concludes that he has not done anything he would be proud of. The couple decides to move to San Francisco when they open a shop with photo equipment in the Castro which gradually changes into a gay district it is today. Yet successful as he is as a buisnessman, Milk yearns for more. He repeatedly runs for the city council and succeeds at the third time, trying another local election in the meantime. The costs of his campaigns are high - his boyfriend leaves him, a new one proves to be mentally unstable. Milk reaches his goal, he becomes the first openly gay person elected to a high office in the USA. As a politician he is quite successful, the movie concentrates on a campaign he orchestrates successfully defeats proposed law banning teaching posts to homosexuals. Yet in the process he offends (unintentionally and the man is quite clearly presented as having serious issues) one of his colleagues who ends up shooting both the Mayor of San Francisco and Milk himself. Milk dies but what he started lives on so the movie ends on a hopeful note.
Have I recruited you already? Go and get the CD. You won't regret it for a moment! I can smell some Academy Awards here!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If a bullet should enter my brain..., 23 April 2009
By 
LittleMoon (loving my life in the rain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
...let that bullet destroy every closet door."

[Spoiler in this paragraph.]Harvey Milk recorded this on tape as he became subject to more and more death threats; it becomes part of the voiceover at the end of Gus Van Sant's (of the quietly brilliant Good Will Hunting) biopic. Milk documents the true story of Harvey Milk's short, late-starter life in politics, beginning with his move into Castro Street, and ending with his (and Mayor Moscone's) murder.

Castro Street is the perfect bohemian backdrop for what becomes the rise of a man who has an increasingly old-fashioned sense of something being "right" that he is willing to fight for at any cost. Milk unites the gay community into various actions, and after several failed attempts finally becomes the first openly gay elected official in California. It seems such a small thing, but the movie shows the enormity of its significance in 1970s America, when being gay was enough to find you evicted from your apartment, or sacked from your job.

Penn is superb as Milk, a role one thinks it would have been so easy to overcook: initially reluctant, then driven, and always, likeably, a conduit for organised chaos and action. If someone had to wrestle the Oscar from Mickey Rourke's epic comeback, then I'm glad it was Penn. James Franco is delicious as the first of Milk's hard-done-by-lovers who finally gets tired of playing second fiddle to politics, and leaves. There are also wild-hairstyled, flamboyant performances from the likes of Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), and Diego Luna (I've never seen this guy before, but he was great). With Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) putting in a calmly eerie performance as Dan White.

The movie itself is perfectly paced, and it's impossible not to be drawn into its passion, as Milk becomes ever more involved in the ups and downs of campaigning, and gay rights come under more and more pressure. The colourful and volatile Castro Street community, ramshackle and dispossessed, seem to cling to Milk, and force him to be their leader. A choice he struggles with, and for which he will pay the ultimate price. Nevertheless, it's a role he seems made for. From the moment he steps up to the podium and says: "Hello, I'm Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you.", you just know that something crazy, something historic is going to happen. There's an undercurrent of tension and excitement in this story that never lets up, and at the end I was left feeling stunned.

Most of all though, I love this movie because it introduced me to a man of courage and conviction, Harvey Milk, a man I'd never heard of before, and now will never forget.

Milk is one of those rare movies that it's actually worth having on DVD. Buy it, watch it, and tell your friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fitting Memorial, 6 May 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
;That Harvey's questing spirit not only lives but soars in this movie is a gift from Sean Penn, who plays him for real instead of for show. Penn is a lion of an actor, but the tenderness he radiates here is revelatory. His physical transformation is nothing compared to the way Penn gets at the core of the man, finding the source of his joy and pain. He disappears into Harvey with the artistry of an acting virtuoso. There's one word for Penn's performance: phenomenal." Peter Travers

I remember hearing about the death of Harvery Milk and the Mayor of San Francisco-and I watched television with all of the Gay marches. But, somehow, I missed much of the Gay movement. I support Gays and their rights. I was married and stating to have children and it passed me by. Sean Penn as Harvey Milk brought it home, up close and personal. I cannot say enough about Penn's extraordinary performance. He truly deserved the Oscar for best male performance. This film should be seen by every adult in America for a full understanding of the life and times of our Gay brothers and sisters. I cannot forget the film, it resonates within me.

Sean Penn became Harvey Milk. His every movement, fleck of his hair or tug of his smile. James Franco as Scott, Harvey' lover is superb. Emile Hirsch, who played the lead role in Sean Penn's directing debut 'Into The Wild' plays Clem Jones, anactivist in the making. Alison Pill is the Lesbian campaign manager, and she is perfect in this role. Josh Brolin plays Supervisor White, and not for one minute would I have guessed who he was, if I had not seen the credits. Josh Brolin is an actor destined for big roles. Gus Van Sant directs this phenomenon, he interjects footage from the real times in 1978 with present day filming of Harvey Milk in San Franscisco. And Anita Bryant- I was waiting for the pie in the face. She so perfectly personifies the sueprcilious and pompousness of the extreme right and their hatred and misunderstanding of homosexuals.

'Milk' is a fitting Memorial for Harvey Milk. For all the generations who have walked the walk and fought the good fight, kudos to you. For those of you who missed the Gay Rights, start here and get in line. This is a film not to be missed.

Recommended. prisrob 05-06-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN INSPIRING & IMPORTANT FILM, 23 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
I knew nothing of Harvey Milk before seeing this film but WOW - I do now!

EVERY GAY PERSON NEEDS TO SEE THIS MOVIE

The murdered late Mr Milk deserves the respect and gratitude of every gay person alive today.
I rate his standing in the history of the struggle for liberty to be in the same league as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King - BUT:
HARVEY MILK IS OUR VERY OWN GAY HERO OF OUR VERY OWN FREEDOM STRUGGLE.

His role in our liberation should be taught in every school history lesson!

I was completely gripped from start to finish in this film. Made all the more compelling knowing it was a true story, a fact reinforced by the snippets of actual footage sparingly interspersed throughout.
The movie is so authentic it is uncanny. I know this from watching all the SUPERB extra's on this DVD, including original actual footage of the actual events the film is depicting. Also talking heads with some of the people actually involved in them.
I was also struck by the outstanding brilliance of ALL the actors who played these characters in the film (real people in the real events) - & as for the directing, well: just so sublime you almost forget you are watching a film.
Nice to hear Patti Smith's 'Till Victory' in the background once too!

Please, if you are gay, watch this film, it will make you realise what it has taken to get our freedom as gay people thus far and, AND to be vigilant in the future, to prevent reversion.

If you are not gay, you need to watch it also. You may gain new respect for 'Gay' people and their history?

I've watched it twice in the last two days now and aside all the other emotions I feel, I have a sense of having been deprived of this history!
How can I never of heard about this wonderful man, his struggle, the mass movement he started, the MASSIVE changes that instigated and his cruel, evil murder? I am a 48 year old gay bloke and had never heard of him!

Thank you Harvey Milk - THANK YOU!

Watch it - please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars majestic filmmaking, 5 Mar 2012
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Milk [DVD] (DVD)
Milk is one of those rare overtly political films that goes beyond the political point to come to life as art. Some reviewers criticise it for not concentrating more exclusively on politics but I think it is much better as it is. In fact there is a very good documentary about his life called 'The Times of Harvey Milk', so the need to do something different is even clearer. What is particularly impressive is the way Gus van Sant manages to blend the various elements into a seamless whole, including archive footage of the actual man in real events. He has often used different media in interesting ways - for instance in To Die For - but here the subject has so much more weight (although there is less humour) and you really feel he does it justice. It really does cover a vital chapter in the history of human rights. The acting by Sean Penn is outstanding and he is ably supported by everyone else. I especially like the way it doesn't succumb to political correctness, giving us the most open film on a gay subject yet to appear in mainstream cinema, along with The Kids Are All Right. It marks a huge advance on a film like Philadelphia in this regard. It also reminds me of Silkwood in the attempt to show the private life and the political aspect - a film that was also criticised for showing too much of her domestic life. I don't really see how they can be separated if you are interested in the psychological context for people's actions. Harvey Milk was a much more political animal by nature than Karen Silkwood, even if he didn't get started until he was forty. At the same time he emerges as a very caring individual who was remarkably patient with his unstable second lover, while always holding a candle for the first. This makes the film resonant in all sorts of ways.

I also thought James Franco was that rare thing: a figure of the most incredible loveliness. There are a few actors, particularly in certain roles, who seem to embody a kind of human perfection; for me Catherine Deneuve in The Last Metro or Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes spring to mind. These films are not particularly outstanding overall but as a study of facial beauty they are remarkable, in that the effect cannot be captured in any still, or even a number of sequences, but rather goes on being amplified by each appearance in the film. It doesn't have to do with sexuality, I don't think - or rather it goes beyond this, so gender certainly shouldn't be the key thing, if my thinking is right at all ... James Franco also has such a face and physical presence, and it adds a further note of lyricism to what is already a brilliant achievement in other respects.
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Milk [DVD]
Milk [DVD] by Gus Van Sant (DVD - 2009)
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