Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Normal Heart

After weeks of waiting and mentally preparing myself to watch a hectic film, I finally saw the film. Based on Larry Kramer's play by the same name. Showcasing a man's struggle to the rising HIV and AIDS epidemic in New York City in early 80's, this is a gut-wrenching film that shakes you up completely. I have seen a couple other movies on AIDS epidemic that have hit me harder, but this film also leaves a very very strong impact and makes you think that to wasn't too long long (almost 30 years) when all this was happening. It gives me shivers to even think what people in those days must have been going through seeing their near and dear ones die because of it and they being completely helpless.

Ned Weeks is an openly gay writer from NY. When he sees an article in New York Times about "Rare Cancer diagnosed in Homosexuals", he meets Dr. Emma, who ha sheen seeing many patients unexpectedly afflicted with this rare disease that compromises immune systems of the individuals. Dr. Emma says tells Ned that he doesn't have the disease but asks his help to raise awareness of the disease within the gay community. Ned organizes a gathering in his house where Dr. Emma says that she doesn't have conclusive evidence but strongly believe that the illness is sexually transmissible. Ned announces that he wants to start an organization to spread information about the disease and provide services to those who have been infected. Ned and his friends Bruce, Micky and Tommy start an organization called GMHC. The organization organizes fundraisers for research on the disease that will now be called AIDS and establishes a telephone hotline, counseling, and other services. Many of the organizers believe that Ned's attitude towards raising AIDS awareness is too direct and abrasive. Over Ned's objections, they choose Bruce as their President. Ned meets NTTimes reporter Felix in hopes of getting his help. The two begin a romantic relationship and later agree to move in together. The disease continues to spread and claims the lives of more and more people. Ned's frustration knows no bounds when he doesn't see any support from either Mayor or US government. Bruce loses his boyfriend to AIDS, in a very very emotional scene. Dr. Emma's efforts to get grant for research are rejected by the government officials. Ultimately Felix also comes down with HIV symptoms. ed's live goes topsy turn, because he can't do anything. The two state their love for one another at the hospital before Felix dies.

This film is heartbreaking story about a problem that still persists today, and is absolutely a must-see. It's an account of life during an epidemic that might have been less brutal, or at least more dignified, had public officials behaved with more bravery, honesty, and compassion. You see the anger, suffering and frustration and the makers have tried their best to bring it all alive on the screen. Its a shame to see how every cry for help was totally rejected by the officials. The film also shows anger towards closeted gays with power and money like the then mayor of NYC who could have worked miracles if he had the courage. The acting by every principal actor is really engaging and note worthy. It doesn't mean that as a film it doesn't have blemishes. Some of the characters like that of Tommy was not fully established. I would have liked to see more around him. Ned's outburst at every instance needed some explanation and also whey Bruce and other friends were of the opinion that the way Ned is approaching things is not right. I would have liked to know a lot more about it. Ned and Felix's relationship was dealt nicely and how a relationship gets affected when one of the partners is found affected by the disease. Felix is brilliant. The scenes where Tommy collects cards of every man who is dying to AIDS fills your heart with sorrow and the entire sequence of Bruce losing his boyfriend, is just so heartfelt and sad.

It’s an important story packed with vivid individual moments, but with this material and these actors, it feels like it could be so much more than what it is but nonetheless this deserves a viewing by every gay man. (7.5/10)

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