THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (1984)
The high-profile Oscar candidate Milk hasn’t generated the same comedic outpouring as did Brokeback Mountain — it does, after all, end with a recreation of a brutal assassination. But, despite the true tragedy of the ending, it’s the vibrant and buoyant joy for life contained in Harvey Milk that makes this biopic so compelling. That, and the fact that Sean Penn gives a performance that’s simply stunning in its accuracy and humanity. Penn may be a bit of a whack-job in real life, but for Milk he left an indelible mark on the screen. Still, for those whose curiosity about Milk and his early-gay-rights milieu has been piqued, the definitive story of his life remains the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. Taken together, they’re a fitting tribute to a man whose legacy has had achieved the far-reaching change you know he hoped for.