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Gone to the Movies: Milk

Posted by purplemary54 on January 9, 2013

Danny Elfman went from being a slightly deranged pop-rock  musician singing about “Little Girls” to one of the finest and most respected film composers today. One of my personal favorites is his score for Milk, Gus Van Sant’s moving biopic about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay legislator of any sort elected in the United States (he was on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors).  Sean Penn won an Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey (which was masterful by any standard), and Dustin Lance Black won for his screenplay.

But Elfman did not win for his gorgeous score.  Now I know part of the reason I like this music is because I associate it with a film I love, but it’s also really good music that fits the film very well.  By turns tender and funny and elegiac, the score is filled with lush orchestration built around a recurring theme, a refrain if you will (I freely admit that I don’t know much technical language about music, but I’m pretty sure that’s right).  It evokes many different emotions, but the most common one is the biggest theme of the film–and arguably of Harvey Milk’s life: Hope.

Which leads me to my real reason for choosing this beautiful, hopeful music for today’s post, and it has nothing to do with music.  I’ve mentioned visiting The Breast Cancer Site before.  It’s the easiest way to give to charity ever.  Each page donates to a different cause (you click, the sponsors give), and you can give more by purchasing items from their store.  Every year, The Greater Good Network posts the results of all that clicking.  In 2012, visitors to the site who clicked or bought products donated the following:

42.6 million cups of food for hungry people around the world.

8,633 acres of rainforest were protected.

4,546 mammograms for women.

366,740 books to kids.

Healthcare for 505,003 children

4,564 hours of research and therapy for Autism.

235,136 meals for veterans.

68.3 million bowls of food for animals in shelters.


Now that’s what I call hope.  If you don’t click already, start today.


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