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Based on 39 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 55 )
  • 100
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure as hell haven't seen it. show more

  • 100
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    With Milk, a great San Francisco story becomes a great American story. show more

  • 88
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    Penn's Oscar-caliber transformation is breathtaking, and the saga of one man's fight for human rights is engrossing. show more

  • 80
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    More than acting, though, Penn's performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject. show more

  • 75
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    For its mesmerizing first two-thirds, Van Sant keeps the film tightly focused on his subject, superbly played by Penn and intimately shot, home-movie style, by Harris Savides. But when the director pulls back to detail Harvey Milk's fight against gay backlash, Milk gets derailed. And - dare I say it? - didactic. show more

  • 60
    Joe Neumaier New York Daily News

    The final result somehow undersells a man whose life and death were watershed moments in the gay rights movement. show more

  • 90
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    The film is superbly crafted, covering huge amounts of time, people and the zeitgeist without a moment of lapsed energy or inattention to detail. show more

  • 90
    Bob Mondello NPR

    What sets this film entertainingly apart from most civil-rights sagas, though, are a slew of relaxed, offhandedly persuasive performances, along with the flamboyance of hippie-era San Francisco. show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    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. show more

  • 100
    Lou Lumenick New York Post

    Smiling more than in all of his movies since "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" combined, Penn goes way deep and soulful in a highly ingratiating performance that's the one to beat for the Best Actor Oscar. show more

  • March 05, 2011 TMarie1188
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    Ferniedog2u I 100% agree with you on what you had to say. People who stand out are more remembered than the ones who don't. Harvey Milk had a voice and he used it to stand up to every one, to fight for what he believed in and went place no one thought homosexuals should go or could go. This movie showed and proved that homosexuals are just like every one else just with a different sexual preference. It's sad that he dies in the end but he died standing up for what he believed in. It's because of people like him that give us courage to stand up for things we believe in. Sean Penn is a terrific actor and he did excellent in this movie. It is sad that people didn't like it, but I guess that just means they don't have feelings. And mikemo34 you said it so well. It is sad how F***ed this country is but Homosexuals should get the same respect as the rest of the population does. No one deserves to be treated badly just because they have a different sexual preference than you. And another thing Homosexuals are even sometimes, no make that a lot of times even nicer than most people are, so we need to treat them with respect just like you would any one else you care about or are friends with.

  • December 25, 2010 Jeanne
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    Sean Penn was amazing. The movie was excellent. Must see!

  • June 19, 2010 drarthurwells
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    Very well done movie, but over-rated. Homosexuals get a raw deal in most countries, severely so in Muslim countries. This film exploits that theme.

  • November 08, 2009 mikemo34
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    This movie changed my life i am a 13 year gay boy and the movie made me think about how f@#*ed up the U.S.A. is and you can hate us but we can be who or whatever we want to be. We the homosexuals are not to different from you heteros. We are people too and we have feelings and if you r homophobic well that sucks for you because we are going to be whatever we want to be and you cant change that! THIS MOVIE IS AMAZING BECAUSE IT IS TRUE I

  • August 12, 2009 ferniedog2u
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    Milk was an amazing movie and extraordinary because of what it depicts. Racism, Hatred, Anger just overwhelms society and very few people stand against it and you know what, those are the people that matter. Not the millions that go with the flow and that don't stand out in the crowd, they'll soon be forgotten and lives wasted. But moreso, Harvey Milk wasn't a hero in essence he just encouraged people to "Stand out" in many aspects. Take your pic

  • April 12, 2009 Jbaum777
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    your kidding right more of hollywood telling us how to live I'm straight as is most of america. Penn is a political animal trying to convince us to be like him. Puke

  • March 13, 2009 Lorgur
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    This movie was gay.... literally

  • March 09, 2009 Sioban Sanderson
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    I Liked MILK a lot. Great acting by Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna and James Franco. Great direction by Gus Van Sant This was based on a true story and I found the depiction very truthful.

  • March 01, 2009 XxX TiNa710
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    i love sean penn i was happy that he won the oscar. i think he is a fabulous actor. i dont know what you people are talking about

  • February 28, 2009 jb144000
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    Sean Penn is a phony activist and should be banned in Hollywood. He considers himself a helper when he helped in New Orleans (but if he was there to help why hire a movie camera crew to follow you so you can show the world)I guess it wasnt a good deed now he uses the Oscars as a Platform for his beliefs! Nobody stood up at the Oscars and was screaming against gays, right.....Penn is a phony, drunk and soon to be where is he now.....

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