I’m about 8 books behind in my Cannonball Read reviews, so why not write a movie review? For those of who don’t know what the movie is about: Milk is the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to a major public office - in 1977 he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He, along with Mayor George Moscone, was assassinated by Dan White, another Supervisor, after White resigned, then changed his mind, but was refused reappointment by the Mayor. (That’s not a spoiler, since the first five minutes of the movie feature a montage of newspaper clippings and press footage about Milk’s death). The movie is directed by Gus Van Sant, with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk.
That’s the bare bones outline, but really it’s the story of gay men living in San Francisco and the troubles they faced - a police force who simultaneously persecuted them for being gay and refused to take murders in the Castro district seriously (in one scene, a police officer repeatedly refers to a murdered man’s boyfriend as his ‘trick’); a growing evangelical backlash to laws giving basic civil rights laws, such as a law prohibiting the firing of gay employees on the basis of sexual orientation; and open hostility from neighbors and nearby business owners.
Any description of this movie makes it sounds heavy, and while it does deal with heavy themes, and ends tragically, the movie is surprisingly upbeat.