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The Times of Harvey Milk

Photo courtesy Terry Schmitt/San Francisco Chronicle

Christopher Orr's review of Milk from The New Republic criticizes Hollywood and the Gus Van Sant biopic for being too little to late.

Hollywood wants us to applaud its courage for finally--finally--telling this story? Really? I can't help but think there will be something cheap about the inevitable Oscar nominations (and probable victories) with which the movie industry will advertise its moral elevation come February.

He also recommends Rob Epstein's 1984 Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, which Orr describes as "less the story of a man, and more the story of a movement and a moment." Epstein's documentary began shooting during Milk's life and came out less than six years after the politician's assassination. The documentary is a frame for the film. Dustin Lance Black's script for Milk borrows several lines and structural elements from the film. As good as Milk is, it is a film of performances. Anyone looking for a more detailed story of "the Mayor of Castro Street" should turn to Epstein's documentary.

Check next week's recess for a review of Milk.


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