OK, so I hold my hands up – when I initially posted the trailer and my thoughts on the then upcoming film, ‘Milk’, I got it completely wrong in terms of the distribution that this film would receive(!)
Nearly twelve months later, and after storming awards ceremonies across the globe, I am very pleased that this film made it to the mainstream after all.
I finally got around to watching it on DVD last night, and I thought that it was amazing. Perhaps the best bio-pic that I’ve ever sat down and watched. Many people of my age will always say it, but it really is hard to imagine that just outside of our generation, we had to fight for the simplest of rights; for example, the right to not to be branded a pervert and banned from becoming a teacher, or even for a heterosexual to support a gay person in their job. Ludicrous. This film really did hammer the story home with a lot more impact than reading the same story in print would have done I feel.
Perhaps being based on a real life person helped for the first, in my opinion, decent portrayal of a gay man on the silver screen. Normally we’re portrayed as psychos, old fat historical figures, or people who are damaged by life. Not Harvey Milk – he’s a man who wants to give us hope and will fight for injustice, and all without the stereotypical character flaws that are usually given to gay men in the movies. I found his characterisation to be endearing, and I finished the film wanting to know even more about him.
A strong cast and creative team (during the credits I ‘mmm’d’ my approval several times), really have helped to make this a remarkable movie and I found it truly compelling to watch. I really liked the occasional mixture of archive footage from the time being blended in with the newly recorded scenes. I think that it’s a film that I can actually take something out of, and I think that the Harvey Milk’s of the World definitely need much more recognition.
A marvellous film; if you have not yet had chance to see it, I urge you to.
As an aside, I’ve just been looking online at buying the DVD and find it a little strange to see that they give away the ending on the front cover?! What’s that about? Obviously, we all know that he was tragically gunned down and that the film isn’t going to end happily. However, the film is engineered in a way that, if you do not know the story, you start to panic when he’s on the stage at the parade, and then you calm down towards the end and ultimately get taken by surprise… so why ruin the ‘surprise’, if you like, by having a picture of the shooting to ‘sex-up’ the cover?! TSK!