Milk is the biographical film about the life of Harvey Milk, the gay rights advocate and first openly gay man to be elected to public office in San Francisco, California.
The film depicts the life of Harvey Milk from his 40th birthday to his assassination on November 27th, 1978. While the film mainly focuses on the political and social oppression that Harvey Milk, and all other gay men in the Castro district of San Francisco (now one of the foremost gay capitals of the world) faced, the film does highlight Milk’s personal relationships.
Focus Features ( the art house of Universal Pictures) produced the film and released it in 2008 and distributed by Universal Pictures. Milk, filmed with a 20 million dollar budget, earned an estimated $54,501,383 since it’s release.
Director, Gus Van Sant, incorporated a good deal of real footage that was assembled in the 1984 Oscar-winning documentary by Rob Epstein, titled The Times of Harvey Milk.
Milk. The use of real footage, as well as flashbacks, and a well-written story-plot, and controversial subject matter combined made the film a incredible success.
Gay rights has been a hot topic for years now. The time of Milk’s release, proposition 8 (the proposition to make gay marriage legal) was, and still is, a common discussion topic in California and the rest of the United States—which aided the great success of the film. Films in general have a the unique opportunity to simultaneously educate and reach audiences on a personal, emotional level. Milk, with it’s captivating plot, outstanding cast, and cinematic excellence drew people in got them to think about gay rights as more than just another political issue. Gay characters in the film were not seen as simply gay, but as members of a society facing serious, cruel and unnecessary oppression. The film generated more positive awareness and therefore inspired positive actions to take place.