Milk: In the Footsteps of Gandhi and King

After You Cannot Live on Hope Alone, the folks at Causecast.org have made a second short film about Harvey Milk.

The life of late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk in the context of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. This animated documentary charts a time-line of the life of the first openly gay man elected to public office in between events in other civil rights struggles. Produced by Causecast for Focus Features, the piece celebrates the release of the film MILK, in theaters November 26.

I haven’t seen Milk yet – or read many reviews, because I’m waiting to see it for myself first. Hopefully I’ll go this week.

Have you seen it? What’d you think, what were your reactions?

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

9 thoughts on “Milk: In the Footsteps of Gandhi and King”

  1. It was so absolutely inspiring. We went to a movie theater in chelsea which was like being surrounded by family :). Not one seat in the the place was empty – in fact we had to sit in the second row (ouch). When the movie ended nobody moved. Nobody. It was completely silent for quite a while. It was a crazy feeling, like we all understood that what happened back then (the fighting of prop 6) is happening right now (prop 8). It was electric. They did such a good job in portraying this wonderful man & his movement. I look forward to seeing it again.

  2. Zoe says:

    I saw it at the Castro Theatre, which was an amazing feeling. Like greg, I felt like the whole room was feeling the similarities between prop 6 and prop 8 – and particularly because Castro Theatre is in the movie, it really felt like the movie was telling a chapter of the history of which we are also a part. I can definitely see this inspiring young queer budding activists who had not before thought of themselves as activists. (Like these people: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/10/us/10marriage.h
    Maybe it's not the best movie ever, but certainly a good movie, as well as a very timely and moving one. I've never seen so many people leave a movie in tears. Even though you know what is going to happen for the two hours you are sitting there, the end is still heartbreaking. The moment I lost it was not the shots but the candlelight march. (And what a phenomenal performance by Penn!!)

  3. Zoe says:

    Gah, I don't know how to edit, but I wanted to add that I also think that Van Sant did a terrific job being true to the history while changing a few things to make a tighter 2 hr narrative. For example, early in the film Harvey's shop is excluded by the local business association. In reality, this happened to a friend of his…I don't think this is a substantive detail, and it made the story a bit simpler. But they kept a lot of important things as well as some good details that made it feel very "true" – from the tough dyke who turns the campaign around to the color of shirt that Harvey wears to Gay Freedom Day.

  4. Tieara says:

    I loved this film! I saw it Chicago. I noticed how captivated I was the entire film by the story and not once did I find my mind drifting in a different direction. As others have said, I thought I would have been more emotional when I saw him getting shot but it was the candlelit vigil that really hit my heart. The entire movie I was thinking "This is the 'same' shit all over again" and seeing the number (prop 6….prop8) puts things in perspective as far as realizing that it wasn't that long ago that things like Stone Wall Riots happened. It can either push you down feeling like it will take forever to get what we want or make you realize that things can change quickly with time. I choose the later.

    As the movie came to a close no one moved. No one moved for quite sometime. There just was a stillness that filled the space. It's like being on the bring of so many emotions you just don't know what to do….so you just sit with it all. A guy in the audience was the first to speak up as most started leaving in silence. He held up his magazine and said "This is why we have to fight". I never did get his magazine but I was thankful that they said what we all wanted to express but may have been to scared to say it first. Out loud.

    I left speechless but full of words at the same time.

    He really lived and amazing life and achieved something quickly within a short span of time. It really is a film I wish everyone would see, especially our community no matter if your a big ragging queen or not. In other words many queer/straight people don't see movies like this because it is "the gay thing to do". And they resist being a stereotype of reaching outside of their boundaries. They don't look past that and see the real meaning of the movie. The movie made some really good points and I look forward to your follow up post about what you thought.

  5. Tieara says:

    "And they resist being a stereotype of reaching outside of their boundaries. "

    is meant to read….

    And they resist being a stereotype OR reaching outside of their boundaries.


  6. mayzface says:

    harvey's been a hero of mine for some years, and i've been waiting anxiously for a film that would do him justice. i must say, it exceeded my expectations. you really get a sense of what we was like as a person, and sean penn gave the performance of a lifetime. it's a kind of haunting film, the memory of it sticks in your mind for a long time after you leave the theatre. it was very hard for me to watch his assassination, in fact i started crying right when dan white climbed through that open window. since seeing the movie, all of this grief has come over me, because his death was so unfair and he had so much more to accomplish and i think we really need him right now. but it's a hopeful grief, because only good can come from getting his story out there and accessible and told in such a profoundly moving way.

  7. LuckyLuckyGirl says:

    (I originally wanted to see this movie on the advice of my little brother. I went to go see it on a date, and while the date didn't turn out (sad face), we both loved the movie.) The theatre was sold of the 8:00 showing, so we had to come back for the 10:00, and even the 10:00 was mostly full.

    The movie was great. I'm afraid to say that I have a lot to learn still about… well everything, but here specifically queer history, so I went into the movie with very little information (first publicly gay man elected, he was assassinated), and found it not only informative but fascinating culturally, and heartbreaking all over the place. Cinematically it was very very good, great costumes, great set design, hair and makeup and score were all spot on, funny and touching alternating with infuriating and tragic- a very good movie all around.

  8. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know of Harvey Milk until this film came out. I watched it last weekend in Toronto and loved it. We may have same-sex marriage here in Canada, but we certainly felt the eerie similarities Prop 6 had to Prop 8. Good luck, America!

Leave a Reply