This past election year, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and Gus Van Sant’s Milk caught that dichotomy perfectly.
Milk is an incredibly moving biopic about an extraordinary man who did unheard-of things in the name of equality. All of the actors (James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, et al) vanish into their roles, led by Sean Penn’s complex and intelligent performance in the lead. His triumphs over discrimination are so joyful, it makes his death even more shattering.
Best of all, Van Sant and company succeed in spurring on a new generation of moviegoers to not settle for second-class treatment. No doubt, Harvey Milk is looking on somewhere, beaming with pride.
Thus, we here at Movie Dearest proudly name it our 2008 Movie of the Year.
By Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.