Saturday, March 7, 2009

Milk (Movie): Don't Miss It.....

“Milk” is a biographical movie, based on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay American politician and Gay rights activist to be elected as a member of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The movie depicts political and personal life of Mr. Milk from 1970 to 1978. He was assassinated in 1978 by his colleague Dan White because of professional Issues. As this is a historical movie, the plot is universally known or can be accessed from numerous sources so I’ll straightaway head to my analysis of the movie.

Moviemakers have beautifully portrayed San Francisco of 70’s and used several real clips of various gay parades, demonstrations of those times to give audiences actual insight of the events. Cinematography is superb. Editing is first rate with hardly any dull moment but the strongest point of the movie is undoubtedly the Acting of lead protagonist (Sean Penn) as well as supporting actors.

As far as the acting is concerned, Sean Penn has transcended all boundaries of excellence in this movie. Playing a historical character is the ultimate challenge for an actor because you have to understand and live through the person you are enacting. You can not put your imagination and perspective to the character, unlike a fictitious character. If you want to know what it’s like to “get into the skin of a character”, watch Sean Penn in this movie. He has literally undergone physical and emotional transformations to portray Harvey Milk.

Physical Transformation: Watch Sean’s looks and mannerisms in the movie and watch photographs or clips of real Harvey Milk. You’d get the feeling that Harvey Milk himself is present on the screen. Sean has aptly portrayed the journey of self conscious Milk to a showy, witty politician. As far as emotional transformation goes, watch the scenes where Milk (Sean) is with his lover(s). He communicated so much with eyes and body language! It must have been certainly very difficult for Sean to play love scenes with a guy, but he did it effortlessly. The man has done his job with 100% commitment.

Sean’s portrayal of the gay man (Milk) was so brilliant that during 81st academy award function; this is what Mr. Robert De Niro had to say “How did he do it? How for so many years did Sean Penn get all those jobs playing a straight man!!” :) Sean eventually won the well deserved academy award for this role.

All the supporting actors have done their job well. James Franco who plays Milk’s love interest (Scott) is particularly impressive. It’s a sheer pain to watch such handsome guy playing a gay man:) He has a million dollar smile!; probably the best smile in Hollywood actors, after from Tom Cruise.

As this movie is about homosexuals, gays mainly, here’s my take on homosexuality. It’s a lifestyle choice just like choice of diet you choose to consume or kind of clothes you prefer to wear. Some scientists say sexual orientation is determined by our genes, some deny the gene theory and say that it depends on psychological and social factors. Nobody has been able to explain the causes of homosexuality accurately.

Homosexuality is still a crime in India and because of which; homos have to face ostracization and inhuman treatment from society. To avoid the discrimination, many of them do not disclose their sexuality and prefer to shelter themselves in fake “marriages”, which indeed turns out to be fatal for all those involved in it. But that’s India!!! People here prefer to live in denial rather than facing problems and addressing them. Instead of looking at real issues, they like to close their eyes and dream and pretend that the problems don’t exist at all. “Marriage” in India is supposed to be a magic stick that is meant to cure ALL problems, including homosexuality!

Few conservative people argue that homosexuality is against nature because it denies reproduction, which is the core responsibility of living creatures towards God. Then what about religious leaders (For e.g. nuns) or others (e.g. Mahatma Gandhi, in past) who practice celibacy? They are also denying themselves reproductive rights, aren’t they? But celibacy is not considered against God/Nature and people who practice it are highly revered and respected in the society. People in fact look up to them and admire them for their simple and “controlled” lifestyle. Doesn’t that indicate double standards?

The fact is: Sexual Orientation is highly personal choice of an individual and society should not interfere with it. Each individual has a right to be happy and make the most of his/her life. West is much more liberal towards homosexuality than the East. Netherlands was the first country to legalize same sex marriages.

Dialogues of the movie are particularly interesting. Here are few dialogues from the scene of public debate over “Proposition 6”, an initiative banning homosexuals from taking up teaching jobs in public schools because of the possible “bad influence” they can have on children.

Proposition 6 Supporter: They (gays) are so interested in becoming teachers because they want to encourage our children to “join” them!

Milk: How do you teach homosexuality? It’s like French?

Milk: I want born of heterosexual parents, taught by heterosexual teachers, in a fiercely heterosexual society, Why then I'm homosexual?

Milk: “If it were true that children mimic their teachers, we'd have hell lot more nuns running around...”

And here is the ultimate one. This conversation was between Dan While and Milk.

Dan White: Can two men reproduce?

Milk: No, but God knows! We keep Trying……..

Don’t miss this movie. It’s a cinematic brilliance.



Anonymous said...

Milk is a cinematic brilliance, so is this review.
It would be a good idea if you could reproduce the same in MS,


Vaishak Buddha said...
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