The Times of Harvey Milk

1984

Biography / Documentary / History

5
IMDb Rating 8.3 10 5051

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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Director

Cast

Harvey Fierstein as Narrator
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
737.05 MB
1280*952
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 2 / 9
1.4 GB
1440*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 5 / 17

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by desperateliving 9 / 10

9/10

Epstein (and Friedman) make documentaries by assembling talking heads, news footage, and narration -- they make documentaries about events and phenomena, not about detailing lives as they happen. This is an event timepiece, and it hits a weak spot in me -- it's a good movie regardless, but it twists something that makes my heart ache. The movie itself might not warrant such a high rating, but what it depicts does evoke very strong emotions, specifically in the last half hour: you come out of the movie shattered and raging. It's a very lean hour and-a-half, and it manages to cram in as much of a sense of the time, at least in terms of the gay perspective, as possible. Epstein's movie is about the gay experience, but he's not a propagandist: he's more than willing to show that the Democratic Jimmy Carter didn't want to be photographed with Milk, that his sister offered to "cure" Milk of his homosexuality through religion; and he's open to showing that Ronald Reagan, much despised in the gay community, did not support California's Proposition 6, which would make it legal to fire existing teachers who were openly gay.

The film's aim is to make a martyr out of Milk -- but then, he is one, isn't he? He knew his own assassination was coming, or felt that it could; it's why he taped his own will assuming it might be heard if in fact he was assassinated (though he likely wouldn't have known it would be an angry former fellow city supervisor who would kill him). When the head of the city supervisors announces that the mayor and Milk have been killed, presumably by Dan White, distraught about not being re-selected as a city supervisor after resigning the position and then wanting it back, it's like an electric shock to the back of your neck, the crowd of news reporters shrieking in disbelief. The story is famous: White, who shoots Milk five times (once in the head), is found guilty only of voluntary manslaughter (and eventually released after just five and-a-half years), and his trial findings result in a street mob. That mob mentality grosses me out, but when citizens furious with the ruling start to firebomb police cars in the street, I couldn't help but feel for them and root them on; this kind of spit in the face to the gay community (and the memory of two dead, innocent men) deserves a gut reaction. There's a difference between mobs fueled by hate and mobs fueled by injustice. When someone says, "We are reacting with anger because we are ANGRY" you feel that anger. When we see thousands of people in the darkened street holdings candles over their heads, you might begin to weep. 9/10

Reviewed by amidalasky 10 / 10

Excellent, moving, beautiful

Though I am a San Francisco Bay Area native, I have no memory of Harvey Milk's career, being as I was only 6 when he was assassinated. However, watching this film made me feel as if I was there, seeing everything as it happened. It truly is that powerful and involving.

Director Robert Epstein skillfully alternate between archival news footage and interviews with Milk's friends and associates, who recall him with warmth and affection. This isn't a hagiography (Milk was, as his former campaign manager notes, hot-tempered and sometimes very hard to work with), it's merely a straightforward portrait of a fascinating and inspirational man.

Harvey Milk was charming, intelligent, articulate, and above all, tenacious. It was largely due to his efforts and those of his supporters that the Briggs Initiative, which would've restricted the rights of gay teachers, was defeated in California. Though gay rights were understandably his biggest issue, he also fought for other disenfranchised groups, and shrewdly recognized that they should all come together as one to fight for human rights. He also presciently recognized the very real possibility that he could be murdered, and taped a statement which he requested be played only in the event of his death by assassination. It's eerie to listen to it, not least because he speaks in such a matter-of-fact way.

Epstein provides a surprising amount of balance with regards to Dan White, who shot both Milk and George Moscone. He certainly doesn't have sympathy with White's actions, but he makes sure to note that White had devoted his whole life to public service, that he gave up a secure job as a fireman to take a low-paying job as district supervisor, then quit in frustration. Nonetheless, his disgust for the ridiculously light sentence White received for murdering Milk and Moscone is palpable, and one interviewee posits that had White murdered only Moscone, he'd have been in San Quentin for the rest of his life.

White, by the way, committed suicide a year after being released from prison. Epstein thought about changing the ending of the film in order to mention this fact, but decided that to do so would be to shift the focus too much to White. The subject of this movie is Harvey Milk, and it's a beautiful tribute to him.

I do have one criticism: the filmmakers don't clear up the matter of the so-called "Twinkie defense," in which psychiatrists who testified for Dan White's defense allegedly claimed that his consumption of junk food was what caused his depression (which, his attorneys argued, was what led him to go on his killing rampage). What the psychiatrists actually claimed was that White consumption of junk food was a symptom, not the cause, of his depression.

Reviewed by jcb9 10 / 10

Wonderful, moving, heartbreaking

"The Times of Harvey Milk" is one of my two favorite documentaries of all time, along with "Roger & Me." Through interviews with his friends, acquaintances, and political allies, Harvey Milk is really brought to life and a wonderful and inspirational human being. It's an especially moving story for me, since I grew up in Berkeley, just across the Bay from San Francisco - but you can enjoy this movie regardless of where you're from. I've seen "The Times of Harvey Milk" about five times now, and I've cried every time. Just thinking of the opening shot of Diane Feinstein saying, "Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot - and killed" to a shocked crowd of reporters chokes me up.

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