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Milk 

Gus Van Sant’s docudrama about the life of activist Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), California’s first openly gay elected politician, who helped transform San Francisco’s Castro District into a gay-friendly neighborhood, is a return to form for the filmmaker who hasn’t had a movie of consequence in some time. Penn is terrific as the eccentric politician who created a movement of sorts out of a photo shop, transforming the neighborhood into the notoriously gay mecca it is today. The supporting cast (featuring James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna and Alison Pill) is excellent, too, making the movie a solid period piece as much as an activist saga. HHH

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