Film - The Normal Heart

The Normal Heart

The film, The Normal Heart, takes a look at the story of the gay community’s struggles during the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980's. Watched by Steve Taylor-Bryant...

John Bruno: Do you really believe that anybody in a serious public office position in their heart of hearts or even in their most closeted meetings say to each other, "Hey guys, let's not get too upset about this?"

Ned Weeks: [to the President's advisor] Yes, your boss hasn't said the word AIDS out loud.

Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo - The Avengers) is a writer who becomes concerned when all his friends start to fall ill. With the help of Doctor Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts - Pretty Woman), herself a polio victim, Ned sets out to create an organisation to support the gay community. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis Foundation is formed to create awareness throughout the gay community and to lobby New York Mayor Ed Koch and the Reagan White House for support. But Ned, for all his good intentions, is full of rage and anger. He blames closeted homosexuals for not helping the cause by refusing to come out and fight for the rights they deserve, and falls out with other supporters like Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch - John Carter) and New York Times reporter Felix Turner (Matt Bomer - White Collar), due to his anger and confrontational style. Tommy Boatwright (Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory), Ned's brother (Alfred Molina - Monday Mornings) and Craig Donner (Jonathan Groff - Glee) all get involved in different ways but, due to the fact that Ned believes that no one cares that they're dying, he turns on those who supported him.

This is a powerful take on a period of time that most of us wish to forget. The fact we didn't care, we stood by whilst people died in our towns and cities, and Reagan as President wouldn't even admit to the existence of AIDS until he nearly left office is embarrassing to anyone with a conscience or morals. This movie, directed by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story/Glee) wears its heart on its sleeve and confronts some periods and arguments that will make some people uncomfortable, and does it in a nearly flawless style. I say nearly flawless, as some parts are a bit too dramatic and the train ride scene, with its flashing lights and terrifying overtures, harks back to his American Horror Story roots rather than keeping the feel created earlier in the film.

The Normal Heart

The entire cast are superb. Ruffalo takes the lead role and runs with it in such a convincing way, every emotion you can think of used. Roberts, Molina Donner are all great foils and hold the narrative together well along with Bomer, but it is Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch that are most impressive for me, pulling out top drawer performances that leave you in no doubt that their futures are certainly ensured within Hollywood.

It's not quite Philedelphia and takes a different look at the epidemic, so comparison is difficult but will be made, but it is a moving portrayal of a tragic time.

Image - IMDb.

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