Van Sant and Black position Milk as both gutsy civil rights leader and creative community organizer — not to mention a precedent-shattering politician who, it's very often reiterated, presented himself as a Messenger of Hope. Milk is now. The ecstatic reception accorded Wall-E's visionary tikkun (and the president-elect's strategic non-support for same sex marriage) notwithstanding, it's the first openly Obama-iste movie.

Milk man: Sean Penn stars as the titular character in Milk, the first openly Obama-iste movie.
Milk man: Sean Penn stars as the titular character in Milk, the first openly Obama-iste movie.

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Directed by Gus Van Sant. Written by Dustin Lance Black. Starring Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O'Hare, Joseph Cross, Stephen Spinella, Lucas Grabeel, Brandon Boyce, Zvi Howard Rosenman, Kelvin Yu and James Franco. Rated R.

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Here's hoping that Milk and Penn's Milk do as well in our annual fake election. When The Times of Harvey Milk won its Oscar for best documentary, presenter Kathleen Turner described it as "a film about American values in conflict." This time, the Academy won't have to be as discreet.

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