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 organiser to a galvanising 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.
From the Back Cover
Released in cinemas on on January 23, from the acclaimed director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting and Elephant) comes the powerful and inspiring story of the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America, Harvey Milk. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all. His life changed history, and his courage changed lives.
With a powerhouse performance in the leading role, Sean Penn (Mystic River) and supporting cast Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) and James Franco (Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3) bring this unforgettable story to the big screen on January 23.