Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harvey Milk - Reel vs Real

Last night Ken and I went to see the movie Milk. The reviews have been extremely good and I was expecting to have a good movie experience, with the bonus of seeing alot of San Francisco in the 1970s. Instead, I was hugely disappointed on both counts.

I will say that Sean Penn was fantastic in his role as Harvey Milk. He is not just playing Milk, he becomes Milk. He deserves to be considered for the Best Actor Academy Award. But as far as writing and directing goes, it's a total thumbs down from me.

The writing seemed so, I don't know, obvious, for lack of a better term. The story moves along, but there's no passion, no soul. The direction was claustrophobic. I didn't get a good sense of time and place in the visuals. The shots were either very close or very wide--neither giving me a feel for San Francisco in the 70s. Again, a lack of passion and soul. I was not moved emotionally.

And this is a story and a time and a place that does move me. If you really want to feel the power of Harvey Milk and the activism that defined San Francisco in the 70s, see The Times of Harvey Milk, the Academy Award winning documentary directed by Rob Epstein. I've seen it numerous and it never fails to bring me to tears.

For me, the telling of the real story from those who lived it brings it closer to my heart than watching the Hollywood reel version.

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