I want fresh salt poured on the wounds of Proposition 8 so that queers will stop apologizing for being angry with the Mormon and Catholic Church, and for boycotting supporters. In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States. It's Stonewall, where we showered raiding police with bottles, locked them in the bar, and set it afire. Even violent scenes are gloved. Then Jack Lira (Diego Luna), a Mexican American who became neurotically jealous of Milk's political life. Van Sant's gentrified Milk reflects gay activism's increasingly apologetic tone. He forged an alliance including liberals, unions, longshoremen, teachers, Latinos, blacks and others with common cause. He shows what such an ordinary man can achieve. He had a weakness for befriending wet puppies: at first, Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch), who became another community organizer. All rights reserved. The 10-second sex scene we only partially see in a dark bedroom between Milk and a boyfriend is all slap and tickle. "Milk," from an original screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, tells the story of its hero's rise from disaffected middle-aged hippie to national symbol. Bitch, I've seen queers more fired up when Bed Bath & Beyond runs out of sale items. Note: What Harvey Milk helped make possible: a very brief, extraordinary speech by current San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rfea8iEGNw. He creates a character with infinite attention to detail, and from the heart out. Director Gus Van Sant's hagiography remains true to the facts of its subject's life while backing away from invoking the full-on, living color injustice, violence, passion, nerve, and sheer scruffy grassroots rage that fueled Milk and the emerging post-Stonewall Gay liberation movement. Milk didn't enter politics as much as he was pushed in by the evidence of his own eyes. Here he creates a character who may seem like an odd bird to mainstream America and makes him completely identifiable. We never see more than a tablespoon of blood at a time. I want fresh rage directed at Barack Obama for thinking that including a gay marching band in his inauguration proceedings compensates for his having invited a notorious homophobe and anti-Semite to give the invocation. Milk was the right person in the right place at the right time, and he rose to the occasion. I am openly heterosexual, but this is the first time I have ever said so. Other than the occasional employment of Harvey Milk's genitals, what makes this character different? Where's the passion? Part of HuffPost Entertainment. He acquired a personal bullhorn and stood on a box labeled "SOAP." He campaigned for a gay rights ordinance. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote. Not that it doesn't try, kind of. We don't always need to be burning police cars to prove our cred, but we shouldn't be inviting homophobes to the table, then singing their praises if they don't spit on us. Opinionator, communications strategist, and red meat-eating lesbian. "Milk" tells Harvey Milk's story as one of a transformed life, a victory for individual freedom over state persecution, and a political and social cause. There is a remarkable shot near the end, showing a candlelight march reaching as far as the eyes can see. Yet Milk is curiously placid and sterile, even prudish. Few characters could be more different, few characters could seem more real. He creates a character with infinite attention to detail, and from the heart out. But I'm not sure that this low-fat film will really help audience get Milk. Sometimes, at a precise moment in history, all it takes is for one person to stand up. Ultimately I'm glad that even this pasteurized, homogenized Milk is out there. His most fateful relationship was with Dan White, a seemingly straight member of the Board of Supervisors, a Catholic who said homosexuality was a sin and campaigned with his wife, kids and the American flag. Penn accurately portrays Milk as the polite public official determined to make social change. Politeness has become homophobia's most popular mask. And I'm sorry that Van Sant didn't think we could handle the truth. Sean Penn amazes me. It's police dragging us out of cellar bars and down to the station to gang fuck the femmes and face-rape the butches, queens, and trannies. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Though the camera pulls back to a wide screen view when gays riot against police randomly raiding bars along Castro Street and beating patrons, we never see a cop actually strike anyone, just a lot of carefully choreographed wrestling followed by a scene of Milk dabbing at a small patch of blood on his boyfriend's head. But so powerful was the movement he helped inspire that I believe his appeal has now pretty much been heeded, save in certain backward regions of the land that a wise gay or lesbian should soon deprive of their blessings. He developed a flair for publicity. Later, when Milk directs Jones to gather a mob and march them to City Hall after one of Anita Bryant's victories (so Milk can show up to act as peacemaker in front of the press), we get another distant shot of a faceless, strangely lethargic crowd. Why can't gays simply be gays, and "unopenly gays" be whatever they want to seem? The prudent thing would have been to cut ties with Lira, but Milk was almost compulsively supportive. If the street kids actually looked like dirty, starving, broke-ass teen hustlers? There's the requisite hate crime scene, plus allusions to gay teens being forced out of their homes and into the streets of the nearest big city by homophobic parents and classmates. Why can't we all be what we prefer? Yes, but I have become so weary of the phrase "openly gay." Not long before seeing "Milk," I viewed his work in "Dead Man Walking" again. The only gay supervisor, Milk was the only supervisor invited to the baptism of White's new baby. Rated R Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Some people may argue there is a gay soul but I believe we all share the same souls. All the right things happen, plot-wise -- a formerly closeted Milk starts a new, out life in 70s-era San Francisco with his hunky younger boyfriend; the hostility of neighboring Irish businesses in the Castro district where they settle, plus the alternating bullying and neglect of the SF Police Department, stir Milk to run for office. It is emotionally devastating. He was in love with Scott Smith (James Franco), they moved to San Francisco, they opened a camera shop in the shadow of the Castro Theater and saw that even America's largest and most vocal gay community was being systematically persecuted by homophobic police.