Love it or hate it, here comes the Harvey Milk movie.
The debate rages. Is it right to have a straight actor portray the most political gay icon in American history? It was eventually widely accepted that two straight actors “bravely” portrayed fictional cowboys and removed us from their stereotypes in Brokeback Mountain, but will it be correct for a heterosexual to portray this gay icon, this historical figure and not know the nuances of being gay? Not having struggled with their sexuality in their lifetime, how can Sean Penn correctly portray Milk? Is Penn on the verge of taking the role of effete Milk over the top like he did in “I Am Sam” (a borderline offensive portrayal of a mentally deficient man)?
Guardedly, I am going to say “no”. The trailer seems to keep Sean in check with his mannerisms, nothing too outrageous, but time will tell. I am quite excited that Gus Van Sant is directing this and might wipe the embarrassment of that Psycho remake from ’98 off his books and put him back on credible film making again.
Early rumours say this movie is going to be important, which is a shame. It’s timing sucks. I get the feeling it really should have been released 10 days ago, before the vote for Prop 8 was so contentiously decided upon (and is still being felt like a stinging slap on a lot of Californian Democrat faces). However, I doubt a lot of Republicans or right-winged religious types would base themselves to see it. Still, positive press of a touching, intelligent biopic might have swayed at least one to go see it. And who knows? Would that have helped?