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As Is (1986)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  27 July 1986 (USA)
7.3
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Story of a gay man who finds out he has aids and how people react.

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Title: As Is (TV Movie 1986)

As Is (TV Movie 1986) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hospice Worker
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Rich
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Saul
Doug Annear ...
Chet
...
Lily
...
Brother
Julie Whitfield ...
Brother's Wife (as Julie Ganton)
Samantha Langevin ...
Partner
Reg Drager ...
Doctor #1
Gerald Lenton ...
Doctor #2
...
TV Commentator
...
Pickup #1
...
Pickup #2
Andrew Lewarne ...
Clone #1
Tedd Dillon ...
Clone #2
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Storyline

Story of a gay man who finds out he has aids and how people react.

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Drama

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Release Date:

27 July 1986 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The original Broadway production of "As Is" by William M. Hoffman opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York on May 1, 1985, ran for 285 performances, was nominated for the 1985 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play and the Hoffman play was the basis for this filmed presentation. See more »

Quotes

Lily: All the characters are dead!
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User Reviews

hope
6 November 2001 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Although Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is listed as the first Broadway production about AIDS, William M Hoffman's As Is was produced on Broadway the same year and won the 1995 Desk Drama Award for best new play and an Obie for Distinguished Playwriting. But whilst The Normal Heart is, to date, yet to be filmed (a version to be directed by Barbra Streisand was aborted after a public falling out between Streisand and Kramer), As Is was made for TV. In his introduction to OutFront, a collection of contemporary gay and lesbian plays, Don Shewer claims that As Is is the best play written about AIDS yet, since it looks at the disease from a social and personal point of view (as opposed to Kramer's political part self-serving autobiography, part jeremiad), and unlike Kramer's unrelenting despondence, Hoffman insists that where there is life, there is hope. The theatrical origins of the play are still in evidence in this cable production, from Colleen Dewhurst's opening and closing one-take monologues to camera as a hospice worker, and the shorthand dialogue style that Hoffman often employs. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg seems so terrified of the Masterpiece Theatre brand of filmed play that he misguidedly utilises staccato editing and pseudo-documentary confessions, which only make the dialogue seem more theatrical. And the level at which he pitches the score by Peter Matz doesn't help. The studio sets also reveal how underpopulated (and presumably underbudgeted) the project is, and when we get a street scene it's like a breath of air. However with all this said, it is the eloquence of Hoffman's text that rises above the director's misteps. The depth of the play comes from the observed detail of gay lifestyle. The premise is that Rich has returned to his ex-lover Saul after being diagnosed with AIDS, and this returning allows for both a re-examination of the relationship and also the climate that made gay men so susceptible to the virus (though we do see a woman in Rich's therapy group who has been infected by her IV drug-user husband). Adapting his own play, Hoffman has made minor cuts and lost a hotline sequence that I didn't like anyway. In spite of the blackness of the subject matter, he easily interjects humour. The bar scenes are particularly funny in their self-consciousness, and we get the gallows humour of the gay men. Jonathan Hadary originated the role of Saul on stage and here he is magnificent. It's the kind of performance that an actor can easily be defined by, with subtleties and emotion concealed under the guise of a stereotype. Robert Carradine's Rich is less assured. Perhaps these kind of martyr roles are impossible to play, or perhaps it is that the carers of those facing death have the meatier parts since they get to stay. Plus Saul is the one to explain the title. Carradine's face is too much a reminder of his relatives, he isn't believable as a gay man, and his rage seems constricted. Saul's big reaction to Rich's "selfishness" in hospital seems therefore unprovoked. The staging of a fall in the hospital is also reminiscent of the final scene in Camille, which I would like to think is intentional, though I have my doubts. My favourite scene is the one where Rich's shamed brother visits him. The expectation of gay moral superiority is not met and we are touched by the brother's efforts to empathise with someone he realises he does not want to lose. Joanna Miles as Rich's actress friend is warm but has little to do except introduce him to her cousin Chet, (gorgeous Doug Annear) who will break up the relationship, though Hoffman gives short shift to explaining Chet's fate. Lindsay-Hogg lingers on Miles' farewell to Rich in hospital, in the same way he pauses after more than once we are told how gay men have abandoned their infected partners, making a cinematic judgment. Thankfully Dewhurst's appearances let us hear her throaty chuckle.


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