Thursday, March 05, 2009

‘Milk’: Brilliant and thought provoking

-By Swetha Amit

It doesn’t take much of creative juices to flow especially when one makes a script based on a true story. However it does require skilful depiction of the same in order to win the hearts of the audience with its stirring message. What proves to be a further challenge is to get into the skin of a real life character and portray him with utmost conviction. Such that it makes the viewers perceive the character alone quite forgetting that he is one of the talented actors of Hollywood. The very element which certainly doesn’t make one dispute over the numerous Oscar nominations the film had to its credit.

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Milk’ is one such film which is based on the story of activist Harvey milk who was the first gay person to be elected in the public office in California. Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) migrates from New York to San Francisco in pursuit of change accompanied by his lover Scott Smith (James Franco) in 1977. He opened a business and soon found his way in becoming an activist. With immense struggle and odds against him, hope was something Milk thrived on as his victory came knocking on his doorstep on his becoming a city supervisor in 1977.

However with jealousy and insanity which are no alien accomplices in politics, Milk is brutally murdered in 1978 by an insecure colleague Dan White (Josh Brolin). Yet the former left behind a strong message that exhibited gay rights in a fierce manner. A community which was shunned and preyed upon mercilessly began to see hope in being able to lead ‘normal’ lives as the others. Such was shown in the Proposition 6 not allowed to be passed much to the jubilation of the same.

Milk promises a profound performance by Sean Penn which truly embarks it as an outright Oscar winner. While sequences in the film such as the open debates depict sarcastic humour, it also portrays intelligence and a thought provoking stance. Josh Brolin performs equally well as the suave fellow selector wearing a mask of vile intentions of the deadly sins possible. Brilliantly directed by Gus Van Sant, Milk easily falls in the category on intelligent cinema and makes one wistful of the fact of not having been declared as the best film of the year.

The movie symbolizes hope, inspiration and numerous underlying messages. Battling against the odds in order to gain justice of what may be righteous always presents a bed of thorns. In spite of bleeding profusely, it takes immense courage, grit and determination to steer through the hostile faces and phases of the society. While victory spells glory, it also leads to the jaws of death by envious predators. Such is the price one pays while fighting for a noble and a good cause.

It also conveys that homosexuality is certainly not a crime. To each his/her own is the philosophy to be adopted instead of indulging in scorn or ridiculing those who don’t exactly fit into our norms. While such acceptance has prevailed in shores abroad, progression in this aspect has a long way to go in our country especially. Shunning or mocking them only exhibits us in poor light especially since they cause no harm to the society. Sexuality lies in one’s choice which none possess a right to intervene and create an issue.

In the meantime, it is definitely a must watch for all in order to appreciate the fineness of wonderful cinema. Passionate, intense and impressive is what spells the dauntless portrayal of the story of Harvey Milk.

Written for



Blogger Whirlwind said...

Comments on MSN:

KP - Chennai on 3/6/2009 12:27:48 PM
Opinions differ on this controversial subject with a large percentage of people unable to come to terms with what they percieve as an aberration.But it looks that same sex relations will eventually become an accepted feature in society. Your review as is always the case very clinical and top class

12:48 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

ponnuswami selvaraj - coimbatore on 3/6/2009 10:46:40 PM
indiscriminate ways of defining marriage,parent,family,sexuality etc , are very dangerous for the whole of humanity.

9:52 AM  

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