asphaltcowgrrl: (Warren)
[personal profile] asphaltcowgrrl
Before I ever borrowed this movie, I knew it wasn't going to end well.  And yet, I watched it anyway.
Why?  A lot of reasons.

First, it stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts.  Good enough, right?  But there's another reason.  That being I think this movie is hugely important if only as a tool to remind us of what went on back during the early 80's when AIDS was something new and feared and the people carrying it were hated and ostracised.  I was only 7 when this movie begins in 1981, so I was at an age where things caught my attention, but not yet old enough to truly understand the impact they were having on the world around me.  The AIDS crisis didn't begin to impact me fully until the end of the 80's.

Something else occurred to me during the watching of this movie.  My kids have never lived in a world where this disease didn't exist.  They don't know the horror of seeing someone bleeding and being too terrified to help them.  They've never known someone who was perfectly healthy that had been refused medical attention because they 'looked like and AIDS patient'.  (True story.  A guy I knew who was naturally thin, both he and his father had been refused checkups by doctors based on their build back in the early 90's.)  I think our kids need to understand that, although we've come a long way in so many areas, there is still so much that needs to be done for equality for everyone.

Anyway, this movie is what I will call an 'ugly cry'.  And by that I mean, big ass crocodile tears, snot, shaking, the whole nine yards.  But then, I don't think any movie centered around the time and issues this one covers could have a happy ending.  As nice as a happily ever after is, in this case, it'd lessen the impact greatly, taking away from the message the movie is trying to send.  It will also make you angry.  Not just for all the injustice, but for all the lives lost, the tears shed, the hopelessness so many people felt during those years, and still feel today.  It's fucking heart-wrenching.

Mark Ruffalo is amazing in this.  He's passionate, aggressive, and I swear to god, I thought the Hulk was going to pop on screen at any given moment during half the movie.  He's angry and so damn frustrated that no one - not even the members of the gay community - will take action that you want to stand up beside him and shout, "I'll help!"  Matt Bomer is pretty great in this as well, although his role isn't as major as that of Mark's.  He, however, is the one that will break your heart in the end.  I've always loved Julia Roberts, from the first time I saw Pretty Woman I knew she was amazing.  She plays a wheelchair bound doctor who is pretty much the only doctor in NYC that will treat anyone even showing symptoms of having AIDS. She fights for the people, for research funding, for everything.  Lastly, I'm going to comment on Jim Parsons who, although had a small role, also had one of the bigger impacts on me.  I think sometimes it's hard for Jim to step outside his role as Sheldon Cooper, mainly because I think that that role is so much of the man he really is.  That said, his minor role as Tommy is one that sticks with me because of it's simplicity.  I won't go into why right now, but it's one small thing he does to honor those dying around him that really hit me.

So.  This movie... this fucking movie wrecked me.  So much so that when my husband came downstairs this morning, he took one look at me and said, "What are you watching?"  He looks at my 13-year-old, Maddie, and says, "Why did you let her watch this?"  The funny part about this?  All I was doing at that point was watching the little bit of historical information they showed on the screen after the movie had ended.  He asked why I was watching such a sad movie on a Friday and I had no answer.  He then told me to go back to Hawaii Five-0.  When I told him that I didn't normally seek out sad movies (which I don't, unless I'm in a *mood* and need a cry), my fifteen-year-old, Taylor, says, "I do!"  And she does.  I swear to god that kid mainlines Hallmark and Lifetime.

Would I recommend this movie?  Absolutely.  Should you watch it alone?  Probalby not.  Find someone with a like-mind and like-heart and clutch one another and just sob until you have no more tears left.  Because I wish I'd had someone other than the cat with me this morning when I finished the movie.  But if you have the time and don't mind shedding a few tears, this movie is very much worth the two hours you have to give it.

In other news... I downloaded an audiobook from the library.  I will admit, I'm not a fan of audiobooks for the most part, but this one I had to request.  Why?  Because it's Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat, narrated by the author himself.  I don't know if you even know who this guy is, but he's one of the funniest, cleanest comics out there right now.  In an effort to perk myself up after the end of The Normal Heart, I put the audiobook onto my phone and listened to it on my way to work.  I had tears of another sort running down my face by the time I was at work.

And for your entertainment... one of my favorite skits of his.

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