Milk is pretty much a flawlessly movie.  Directed by Gus Van Sant, Gus is clearly in his element and knows the subject matter like the back of his hand.  Yes, there are lots of dudes kissing and some James Franco dudity, but this is the history of gay so what did you expect?  (Major spoiler warning)

The story is based after the real life Harvey Milk (Sean Penn).  Convinced to move out of New York City and out of the closet by his lover Scott (James Franco), the duo move to”The Castro” section of San Fransisco in the early 70’s.  The Castro, at the time, is marginally friendlier to gay people than New York City because of their large numbers, but only marginally.  Gay bashing and police harrassment are a daily reality from the moment Harvey and Scott arrive to open their camera business.   Harvey, being the enterprising and friendly sort, organizes the gay community and becomes the unofficial “mayor” of the Castro.  Within a few short years and by helping the teamsters organize a successful boycott of Coors, Milk makes the gay community a political force in San Fransisco.  The natural next step is to try and elect Harvey to office as the first openly gay elected official.

But there are problems along the way:  More gay bashing, more police harassment and a political establishment that is extremely hostile to gays.  Harvey runs again and again and loses again and again.  Finally, things come to a head when Anita Bryant starts making trouble by overturning gay laws across the country.  Gus Van Sant makes great use of real video footage from the time, so you feel as if you’re there.

Long story short, Harvey gets elected and the gay community finally comes out of the shadows.  This is the true story of the civil rights movement for gay people.  And although the true life ending to Harvey’s life is pretty sad, it elevates him to the icon he is today.  Sean Penn is just unbelievable in this role as is Josh Brolin and the rest of the cast.  In a great bit at the end, Van Sant shows you the real people along side the actor and gives a wrap up of what happened to them after the events of the movie.

Just like Harvey explained gay oppression to the blue collar straights in San Fransisco, this movie really captures the struggle for gay rights in America.  Additionally, it portrays the subtle differences between the various factions within the gay community itself.  If you’re still hung up over gay guys making out, get over it and see this movie or you’re missing out.  I give it 10 kegs out of 10.  The Oscars would be a complete joke if this movie didn’t win something.