Milk Doesn't Spill a Drop

Critics lap up gay-rights drama
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2008 2:05 PM CST

(Newser) – If Milk were a ballot proposition, critics would pass it in a landslide. Part docu-drama, part biopic, the film spins the tale of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay American elected to public office, into an “incisive and stirring” drama, Owen Gleiberman writes in Entertainment Weekly. It’s “the rare liberal message-movie manifesto that lingers in the mind as well as the heart.”

Director Gus Van Sant is clearly trying to invest the gay-rights movement with the mythic grandeur of the civil-rights movement. “His success is complete,” writes Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. And expect major awards buzz for Sean Penn, who amazed Roger Ebert. “Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, and never needs to,” Ebert writes. “He shows what such an ordinary man can achieve.” (Read more Sean Penn stories.)