One thing that I have a problem with is remembering why I do or do not like particular things. When I am reading anything by Ian McEwan for instance, I could list fifty or sixty reasons why the book is terrible. A month later? I just remember that I don’t like it. Therefore, there will be mini-reviews of everything I see/hear/read/consume for my future reference.
The first is of Milk. I watched it in Hillcrest last night, followed by a delicious dinner at Kitima Thai (one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego, along with Yakitori Yakyudori and The Linkery). The movie was very good. I have seen a lot of good acting performances this year, and Sean Penn’s is definitely up there. The story is engrossing, and it got me angry all over again about the intolerance and bigotry behind Prop 8. It really is a shame that this movie did not come out earlier.
What didn’t I like? There were a few too many times when it was clear that this was a movie adaptation of someone’s life. It was pretty obvious when things that were days or months apart happened one after the other. That’s fine for a movie to do, but it shouldn’t be so obviously set up. My bigger complaint – and this is probably a personal preference rather than a valid aesthetic criticism – is that we didn’t see enough development of the characters in the movie. This is not really a movie about Harvey Milk & co., it is a movie about the gay rights campaign and movement in the 70’s. That’s fine, but it would have been nice to learn more about our characters. As it is, most characters are introduced with a short voiceover by Sean Penn and aren’t developed further. Even Milk is a little mysterious: his love affair in the second half of the movie is clearly destructive and unhappy, but we never see why they stay together. What we see is Milk as a political force first, as a person second.
But overall, I thought it was very good. Also, before the movie in the preview for Che , the ending quote is absolutely ridiculous:
Interviewer: How does it feel to be a symbol?
Che: A symbol of what?
Uh, good point. Very dramatic, Steven Soderbergh, very dramatic.