"[T]he filmmakers have crucially infused the story with qualities in very short supply today -- gentleness and a humane embrace of all its characters..."
Variety - Todd McCarthy (11/03/2008)
4 stars out of 4 -- "It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (11/27/2008)
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "MILK has one of the finest ensemble casts this year and a magnificent, career-topping performance by Sean Penn, who disappears into the title role."
USA Today - Claudia Puig (11/25/2008)
"Penn, as we've come to expect, is extremely persuasive as someone with a different, more offbeat kind of charisma than many of his previous screen roles....Franco is a nice match for him....It's a powerful story."
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan (11/26/2008)
"Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. MILK is a marvel....A fascinating, multi-layered history lesson."
New York Times - A. O. Scott (11/26/2008)
"Gus Van Sant's incisive and stirring dramatization of Harvey Milk's heroic life and violent death....MILK is a fascinating film..." -- Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman (12/05/2008)
"MILK tells Harvey Milk's story as one of a transformed life, a victory for individual freedom over state persecution, and a political and social cause."
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert (11/24/2008)
Ranked #1 in Rolling Stone's 'Movies Of The Year' -- "[A] true political film. It finds its bristling purpose in humanity, not ideology."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (01/08/2008)
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's apparent Van Sant was making any and all efforts to bring Milk's story as close to it origin points as possible. The authenticity this Oregon native provides is palpable and, at times, breathtaking."
Box Office - Sara Schieron (11/26/2008)
4 stars out of 5 -- "[Penn] finds sufficient space amid the historical milestones to hint at the intensely private pain that underpins Milk's mission."
Empire - Empire Staff (02/01/2009)
Included in Entertainment Weekly's 2008 Films Of The Year -- "The movie becomes a stirring primer on the participatory political process, and an unspoken exhortation to get involved."
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (12/26/2008)
4 stars out of 5 -- "Gus Van Sant's earnest, lucid biopic is more than a portrait of one man. It's also a snapshot of his times..."
Total Film - Neil Smith (02/01/2009)
"[T]he first great film to look at civil rights from the perspective of the gay movement....It transcends any single genre as a very human document that touches first and foremost on the need to give people hope."
Hollywood Reporter - Kirk Honeycutt (11/02/2008)