Milk’ does a generation good with inspiring film

By Cielestia Calbay & Christa Collins

It’s one thing for audiences to walk out of a movie pleased, and
another to walk out inspired. “Milk” did just that. “Never blend
in” is the tag line for “Milk.” While the film’s title may seem
bland, one man and his ambition made it a reference for change for
thousands. The biodrama, which hits limited theaters Nov. 26 and
mass audiences Dec. 5 – celebrates the life of Harvey Milk, the
first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the nation
as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The
brilliant Sean Penn leads a stellar cast that includes James
Franco, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin and Diego Luna. Before his title
as a city supervisor for the city of San Francisco, he became a
legend in the Castro District, adopting the nickname “Mayor of
Castro Street.” Milk was an active Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender rights activist whose passion for change inspired young
activists to follow and take charge, and Penn did justice to
portray every aspect of this modern day hero. “Milk” exemplified
one of Penn’s many strengths – versatility. “He’s just got the
skills to pay the bills,” said Hirsch of Penn in a recent
roundtable interview. He has played an assortment of characters,
from inmates on death row to critically ill mathematicians, and his
role as gay activist showed off his ability to not only fulfill,
but exude “Milk’s” ambition and drive for progress. Standout
performances from Franco and Hirsch polished the film, each playing
fellow gay activists. Franco starred as Scott Smith – Milk’s lover,
while Hirsch portrayed Cleve Jones – Milk’s prominent activist. “I
certainly felt a big obligation on this movie. It felt different
just because I know what an important story this is and how much I
respect Harvey Milk and his legacy,” said Franco in a roundtable
interview. Franco and Hirsch, equally popular for their heartthrob
statuses, each delivered bold performances. Both conveyed what
their characters stood for, which brought a sense of humanity to
the film. It was refreshing to see how open the cast was when it
came to love scenes. The love scenes in “Milk” exuded a more
nonchalant approach in comparison to scenes in “Brokeback
Mountain.” The love and kissing scenes were tastefully done. It
displayed the message clearly, without being overly eye-opening.
“The relationship is just presented like a normal relationship as
you would see with any straight couple in mainstream shows or
anything,” said Franco. “And I think that’s a good thing, and a new
thing. Just to present a gay relationship as it is what it is –
just a normal relationship.” The film takes viewers back to the
year 1978, in the just-blooming Castro. The outfits worn by the
cast brought out the unique personalities of the ensemble. Franco,
Hirsch and Luna also got to sport some curly afros. Despite its
humorous moments, the film is categorized as a drama, and rightly
so. The Castro was a turbulent place at the time. However, violence
and hate crimes did little to suppress the gay community and
instead prompted it to stand together. Events in the film that
played out 30 years ago are still relevant today. The characters in
the film fought against Proposition 6 – which would have banned gay
and lesbian people from working in the California school system.
Through their intense efforts, Proposition 6 was shot down. For
those fighting for equality today, the movie will be quite
emotional. “I think it’s coming at a unique time when you know Prop
8 has just passed in California and everyone is talking about what
are gay rights,” said Hirsch. “There’s a big debate raging in the
country right now, right as Barak Obama has just been elected. And
people are really inspired for change and to have this film come
out right in the midst of all that, considering the film has been
in development for 30 years, it’s pretty perfect timing.” The movie
was not ready for release before the election, but it will still be
a source of inspiration. At the beginning of every one of his
“hope” speeches, Milk would say, ” My name is Harvey Milk, and I’m
here to recruit you!”


mPRm Public Relations

Milk’ does a generation good with inspiring film

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