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Milk Review Critics


Dave White Profile

...very moving Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

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

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

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

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A fascinating film -- more docudrama than biopic.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Memorable, mature biopic brings a movement to life.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense, stirring drama examines the life of Harvey Milk, a civil- and gay-rights advocate who was assassinated in 1978. It explores prejudice against homosexuals and traces the beginnings of the gay rights movement. The film offers an unflinching look at homophobia during that era. Expect strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), sexual situations, partial nudity, political manipulation, suicide, and murder. Some material may be too challenging for younger teens, but older teens and adults will find it a thought-provoking piece of history.

  • Families can talk about what Harvey Milk stood for -- pro and con. Whatdo your kids think about the gay rights movement, and how do they thinkthings have changed -- if at all -- since 1978? Does the movie have apoint of view on Milk's role in history? Do your kids think it'saccurate? Why? Another good discussion can be had about the art of thefilm itself and how the filmmakers used archival footage in the movie.Does that affect the authenticity of what people are seeing?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Milk discovers a sense of purpose when he moves to San Francisco with and becomes an equal-rights advocate. His story gives hope to countless gay men, many of whom are afraid to come out. Milk and his longtime boyfriend appear to have a nurturing, supportive relationship, but when they break up, Milk finds himself embroiled in a highly dysfunctional relationship, which unfortunately ends in suicide. Later, Milk himself is assassinated by a fellow politician. Political intrigue and betrayals are revealed; the assassination plays out in excruciating detail onscreen.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A man shoots two others, point blank. Another man is beat up in a hate crime. Black-and-white archival footage shows homosexuals being harassed by cops. Also, a man Milk is involved with hangs himself; the scene in which his body is discovered is upsetting and somewhat gruesome.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Hook ups between men. Lots of ogling and a fair number of conversations filled with sexual innuendo (including discussion of what one person would "do" to another). Naked photos; a man walks around in his briefs. Men kiss and grope each other.

  • language false4

    Language: Fairly explicit, including "c--ksucking," "dick," "s--t," "f--k," "prick," and more. A derogatory epithet that starts with "f" is also hurled a few times.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, some to the point of inebriation. Some characters are shown rolling marijuana.