The film strives to show, that even though the times the film portrayed are long gone the advancements in universal culture have been updated with time and are even more willing to accept homosexuals now than they were then. Yet it still appears to be as big a scandal today as it was then. Even though his better judgment was dominated by his passion to prove himself, this driving force led him to his own destruction. Ambition and power took over his ability to care, and dominated him with an expressionless lack of emotion leading to the inevitable his lack of loyalty to his partners, lack of happiness, lack of anything meaningful, so much so that he even forgot to enjoy the gift of life, until the day he loses it to a bullet, shot by a person who he failed to assist, a friend or ally who when faced with his betrayal was in turn driven by his own fiery need for revenge.
The strength of this film is its extreme core of pessimism. It is the negativity of the film that compels a person to actually sit up and pay attention. The film in spite of a theme that under normal circumstances would have been controversial despite the narration of very true events, it tends to support a point without offending any of the viewers being of gay background, straight or politically active or liberal. In all cases it comes across as a film that makes appoint with a solid background of evidence and at the end of it there is a worthy lesson. Power when overrides better judgment often leads to damnation.
The historic recordings from the actual days of Harvey Milk that the creators of the movie have used with much frequency serve to do a lot more than bring the movie to life but also serve to show the audience a glimpse of the actual energy that existed in the days of Harvey Milk and the joys and sorrows that existed in them (Penn, Hirsch and Brolin).