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Directed by Gus Van Sant

United States 2008 128 mins.

Leading an all-star cast (Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco) in Van Sant’s intimate and meticulously researched biographical drama, Sean Penn gives an astonishingly sensitive and astute performance as political iconoclast Harvey Milk, the self-described “Mayor of Castro Street.” “Milk tells Milk’s story as one of a transformed life, a victory for individual freedom over state persecution, and a political and social cause. . .[the film] never tries to show Milk as a hero, and never needs to. It shows him as an ordinary man, kind, funny, flawed, shrewd, idealistic, yearning for a better world.”