An empathetic and emphatic call to action still relevant today, director Gus Van Sant’s MILK (2008) celebrates the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. The film was recognized in the year of its release with a 2008 AFI AWARD, naming it among the most outstanding motion pictures of year. According to the official rationale, “MILK is here to recruit you — and all audiences who yearn for stories of hope and inspiration. The film is a time capsule that comes to life through Sean Penn’s transformative performance, adding another chapter to the volumes this great American artist has written for the ages. His work here holds the center of a spectacular ensemble led by Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch and James Franco. In a year when America went to the polls seeking change, director Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black crafted a story that soars above the biopic genre by illuminating the thrill of activism, celebrating the theater in America’s political process and extolling Milk’s legacy through his simple message — ‘You gotta give ’em hope.’”
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