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Sunday, February 01, 2009

His Life Changed History. His Courage Changed Lives.

Sean Penn astounds as Harvey Milk. There’s no doubt in my mind that his performance is the best performance by a lead actor, and he truly deserves the Academy Award.

With bio pics many times the actor unfortunately mimics the character rather than being that person, and their performance has that “look at me” and “I’m playing someone you already know and aren’t I doing a great job” glow to it. Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman comes to mind as does Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Not so with Penn, he immediately draws the audience in and embodies the heart of soul of Milk.

“Milk,” deftly directed by Gus Van Sant, is the story of Harvey Milk, who became the first openly gay man to be voted into public office in America. The film follows Milk’s life as he moves to San Francisco, becomes a business owner, and his subsequent climb to elected politician. Sadly Milk’s life was cut short when in November 1978 he and San Francisco Mayor George Mascone (Victor Garber) were assassinated by fellow politician Dan White (brilliantly played by Josh Brolin).

This is a powerful film with a powerful message.

It’s interesting to note that Dan White’s defense argued that his mental deterioration was exacerbated by his junk food binge prior to the murders. It was quickly dubbed the “Twinkie Defense” by the media. White only served five years in prison for his crime, and two years after his release he committed suicide.

Don’t miss “Milk.”

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