(I) (2008)

Critic Reviews

84

Metascore

Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure as hell haven't seen it.
100
With Milk, a great San Francisco story becomes a great American story.
100
Sean Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, and never needs to. He shows him as an ordinary man, kind, funny, flawed, shrewd, idealistic, yearning for a better world.
100
Smiling more than in all of his movies since "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" combined, Penn goes way deep and soulful in a highly ingratiating performance that's the one to beat for the Best Actor Oscar.
91
A fascinating film -- more docudrama than biopic.
90
The Hollywood Reporter
The film is superbly crafted, covering huge amounts of time, people and the zeitgeist without a moment of lapsed energy or inattention to detail.
90
What sets this film entertainingly apart from most civil-rights sagas, though, are a slew of relaxed, offhandedly persuasive performances, along with the flamboyance of hippie-era San Francisco.
88
Penn's Oscar-caliber transformation is breathtaking, and the saga of one man's fight for human rights is engrossing.
80
More than acting, though, Penn's performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject.
75
For its mesmerizing first two-thirds, Van Sant keeps the film tightly focused on his subject, superbly played by Penn and intimately shot, home-movie style, by Harris Savides. But when the director pulls back to detail Harvey Milk's fight against gay backlash, Milk gets derailed. And - dare I say it? - didactic.
60
The final result somehow undersells a man whose life and death were watershed moments in the gay rights movement.

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