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September 14, 2009


Milk. Should’ve been titled “Milquetoast”. Sean Penn gives a nuanced, immersive,  ballsy performance. But then again, when does he not? Even so, the script and direction made it pretty hard to care about or feel anything one way or another about this Harvey Milk, let alone anyone else in the film. These are supposed to be 70s queers we’re talking about here. Maybe our society just can’t do “flamboyant” anymore – maybe it’s not politically correct to portray gays as queenish. Narrative follows the standard biopic formula note for note. It’s like watching a checklist of events. Dan White, as portrayed adequately by the talented Josh Brolin, is a vague figure with various stated motives, but I thought Brolin looked a little uncertain of where to take his character. This is criminal – if you read about Dan White, you realize his character is as abundant with potential as Milk – but both just come off as subdued, dull and flat. If you like movies that give you pause for thought about your plans for tomorrow, this one’s for you.

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