Sean Penn may be headed for a “best actor” Oscar for his performance in Milk.
Roger Ebert also praises Penn’s performance, and gives the film four stars.
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. He shows what such an ordinary man can achieve. Milk was the right person in the right place at the right time, and he rose to the occasion. So was Rosa Parks. Sometimes, at a precise moment in history, all it takes is for one person to stand up. Or sit down.
Conservatives will not like the Rosa Parks-Harvey Milk comparison that Ebert makes above, but the gay rights movement is the civil rights movement of our time, and this is a movie for our time.
Ebert gets it right.