well, even though this was a while ago, I still thought I would blog about it. I FINALLY saw "Milk" after having wanted to see it for awhile. I found that I much preferred the Documentary over the film.
First of all, I thought Sean Penn did an incredible Job playing Harvery Milk. Wow! It was unreal listening to and watcing him. I felt like I was looking at the real Harvery Milk from what I gathered. From the way he talked all the way down to his hand movements, Penn had him matched. It was so incredibly strange and eery. He also did an excellent job at portraying Harvey's inner character. The documentary seemed to show more of Harvey as he was on the outside, in terms of his roles in the political movement and office. The film really dug into the emotional aspect of his character especially his love relationships. There was a much bigger connection with Harvey in the film than in the documentary. I felt the audience could really connect with Harvey in film in terms of his relationship, regardless of his lover's sex. His relationship were told in a heart felt and tasteful way that you could understand his love for others. This was one thing that the film excelled in whereas the documentary could not.
On a side note, I thought it was neat that some of the actual true friends of Harvey had minor cameo roles in the film. It was a nice way to incorporate both worlds.
I thought the beginning of the film was told almost exactly as in the documentary and it was interesting to see how they twisted it to work with the film. I though it was fantastic how Harvey virutally narrated the film from the recording he was making. It was a nice way to tie the events together. I noticed the only time we saw Diane Feinstein was at the beginning of the film as well, to keep her character real.
The one big problem I had with the film was that I felt more of a political movement in the documentary than in the film. It seemed to random in the film that this one guy wanted to run for office out of no where and start a movement. In my opinion I never felt the cause to why Harvey wanted to be there so badly. The documentary really showed more about who Harvey was based on the interviews of his friends. I kept thinking in the film that Harvey seemed more of a guy who wanted to be in office "just because." There was a much more gradual movement and progression from Harvey started to finished.
As for Dan White, I never felt a connection with him in the film or a reason of motive. The way they positioned his resignation did not seem effective to me. Again, it felt random. I felt I never saw his struggles to the extent as they were in the documentary, especially with Moscone. To me, he almost felt like a character just thrown in the film to act as an opposition to Harvey versus a man who virtually frustrated and exhausted with his position. It all seemed a bit fast as well. He resigned, 30 seconds later the film, he wanted the job back. There was no progression and frustrated build up that would let me to believe he wanted vengeance.
The ending to the documentary had a MUCH larger impact as well. The whole candelight march in the documentary and the testimonials about it where so compelling. I never felt that in the film. I also never felt it for Harvey. His two friends showed up at city Hall to no one and they did not seem upset at all. I remember thinking, their best friend just died and then they just walk outside a see thousands of people and the movied ends. It was not very satisfying at all.
I love how the documentary took it much further and spoke about the trial and riots afterwards. I think that said more about the movement that anything in the film. A heterosexual man killed a homosexual man and virtually got off. It sparked more of an outrage and impact. The audience of the film did not get to experience that same shock and awe as in the documentary.
Overall, I will tend to prefer to documentary over the film, despite believing it is still a great film and incredible performace. I just felt the Documentary had more substance and emotion behind it. For those that havent seen both films, I recommend it. It is quite fascinating and an interesting insight how the screenplay was written.