Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaBloPoMo and Milk

So it is November 1, first day of both NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and the first day of Cannonball Read 2. Unfortunately, I wasn't chosen to participate in the official CR2, but I'm going to do the unofficial version instead. There's a list of the unofficial participants (The Kids Who Stink and Suck at Kickball). I'm also going to try and manage NaBloPoMo, but I can't make any promises.

Friday night, I watched Milk, which I had been meaning to see for quite some time. I'd kind of been putting it off, since it's not really something The Boyfriend or Starbucks Queen would be interested in seeing. However, it was late at night, I was still too drunk from partying to go to bed, and it was on OnDemand. I'm glad I finally got to it.

The story of Harvey Milk and his rise to power in San Francisco in the 70s is an inspiring story. The man was determined to make a difference in his own way to try and help those who at the time didn't have a voice. I don't know as much about him as I feel like I should, but I'm glad I know what I do. The unfortunate thing is that people are STILL fighting for the rights he was trying to win 40 years ago. The gay rights movement today is very important to me, and it's disappointing that no leader has emerged with the kind of charisma and fighting spirit Harvey embodied. Although this week has been a good one for the movement (signing of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes act and the repeal of the travel ban for those living with HIV) the Anita Bryants of the world still seem to have more power than they should.

The film itself was well done, and the director made some strong choices. The use of actual news footage at a lot of points (Anita Bryant, for example) added to the realism for me. I also thought there were a lot of very good performances, including Sean Penn, James Franco, and Josh Brolin. I did feel like some of Harvey's personal character flaws were a little glossed over--his relationships with those around him often felt forced because we didn't really see why these people cared so much for him, nor were his romantic relationships fleshed out (despite the amount of kissing involved, which almost seemed more like a ploy than character development.) Also, the point where the movie started left a lot of questions unanswered and seemed to gloss over Harvey's closeted past. Visually, I was very impressed, but sometimes felt we were getting style over substance. However, I understand that generally a biopic--like a portrait--is going to make the hero look as good as possible.

On the whole, I think it was a great movie that people ought to see, if only for the (admittedly blatant) political message.

1 comment:

Spender said...

I clearly recall how shocked we were by the murders and how it seemed to set the cause back several years. I agree with you that these battles should have been won years ago but even the small amount of progress being made is heartening.
Nice review!