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26 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

An Early Crusade

Author: guil fisher from New York City, NY
11 January 2003

This 1985 TV Movie, was early for it's time in bringing out the truth of the "gay" disease of A.I.D.S. It showed great courage and sensitivity in it's telling the story of a young gay attorney, played with incredible honesty by Aidan Quinn, who comes down with the illness and must proceed to tell his parents, played with equal honesty by Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara of his lifestyle let alone that he is sick.

This is a must see film. It still holds up in it's approach to not only tell the story but educate us as to the disease and how it can affect those around us. It was written by Ron Cowen (QUEER AS FOLK writer and SUMMERTREE) and Daniel Lipman and well directed by John Erman. Also in this astounding cast are Sylvia Sidney, one of her last appearances, as the Grandmother who is not afraid to hold and love her grandson, D.W. Moffett, prior to his CROSSING JORDAN TV series, as the lover to Quinn who might have given him the disease through a disloyal tryst in the baths, Sydney Walsh as the pregnant sister afraid to touch her brother for fear he might infect her unborn child. Don't worry she eventually comes around to his side and John Glover, that underrated actor, LOVE VALOUR COMPASSION, as a man dying of the disease whom Quinn befriends in the hospital. Glover looks so much like the dying man he portrays, it's frightening.

This film seemed to be a labor of love for certainly all the actors were giving such dedicated performances. And some of the moments were so real you felt it in your heart. This is one of Quinn's early performances before he went on to do such films as LEGENDS OF THE FALL. He brings gentleness and sensitivity to the role. I'd like to see him do the story of Montgomery Clift one day as he reminds me of Clift's style of acting. The relationship between Quinn and Moffett was well played and not stereotyped. The scene when Quinn tells his parents his disease was brilliant. You could feel in their not saying a word what was going on in their hearts.

A beautiful film, ahead of it's time, brilliantly presented with such an accomplished roster of performers, director and writers.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Memory Lane

Author: sschimel from United States
23 December 2005

I don't know why I do this to myself. I've been HIV+ since 1994, and every once in awhile, I feel the need to torture myself and watch something like this. I remember clearly when it was first on. It didn't mean much to me then, but I just watched it tonight on LOGO, and I cried my eyes out. The information on AIDS is soooo dated, but the emotions are so real. Aiden Quinn was terrific, as were Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara. John Glover seems to have made a mini-career out of playing the role he plays here, as he played it again in "Love, Valour, Compassion" (also excellent). Whatever happened to D.W. Moffat? I think, if I recall correctly, that this was the first movie or TV show to really deal with AIDS. The disease had only been named in 1981, so it was only 4 years later. It still holds up.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Way Ahead of its Time - and Still Valid!

Author: (tim.halkin) from Munich, Germany
8 February 2003

We're now well into the new millennium, and I'm angry at myself that I'm only now getting around to seeing this 1985 milestone AIDS film! I work in the television industry, and I must say that I feel proud that a major US network like NBC had the guts to produce a film this sensitive and revolutionary for its time. It truly makes a valiant attempt (and succeeds for the most part) to make AIDS an every-day, living room topic without ever getting too sticky or maudlin about it. Even though this was really in the stone age of AIDS, it's amazing how right-on it was in so many areas. The only thing that feels dated now, is the lack of therapeutic possibilities, which we have today, but my God, we just all lived through over 20 years of Hell, and only now - recently - have a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The writing team had great insight and foresight.

That said, I do wish that the script had gone one round with a good dialog doctor. There are moments, where - despite the AMAZING cast - that I did have to cringe. It was always a matter of sticky dialog, but - believe me - not the heart, soul, or deeper truth of the piece.

This film might be somewhat older, but it is still incredibly valid, and is heads-and-shoulders over most films of its genre. I'm sure that the executives at NBC who gave the green light for this production are long gone, but I raise my glass to you for your courage and for your vision. Bravo!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An Excellent Television Still Relevant for Today's Audiences!

Author: ( from United States
31 October 2006

An Early Frost was by far superior. It was done gently without insulting or preaching to the audience. It was one of those movies that helped explain homosexuality and AIDS to the audience without being angry. Of course, Aidan Quinn does a beautiful job in his role as the young homosexual. It is heartbreaking movie. I love Gena Rowlands as the understanding mother. Movies like this made you think about the subject of homosexuality and AIDs in a time when we lost the legendary Rock Hudson who was openly gay in Hollywood but closeted to the rest of us who didn't know anything about. Movies like this were when television movies could have rivaled the cinema industry. They don't make many films with sensitivity. HOmosexuality has become a long running joke and AIDS has new victims like women and children. It's a shame that they don't make movies like this anymore. AIDS affects everybody not just family and friends.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

the music still haunts me

Author: rickdumesnil from Canada
19 April 2008

first the acting....Aidan Quinn was apre heath ledger winner...both tackled the gay roles with finesse and ability. Gena rowlands her eyes gave some of the best emotions of the film. and the gay dude in the hospital so real even my straight brother felt for him. what a great movie full of love and pain. while it teaches us to be safe with our sex makes us realize how much life is fragile. i saw it 10 years in intervals and i remembered how the music score had touched me and how much...for its time this movie was important to all and ahead of its time. miss Sidney also was a cool grandma...and Ben gazzara....really got our hearts pounding. never to be forgotten.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Still absorbing 23 years after it was released

Author: palinlondon from United Kingdom (London)
11 November 2008

It's hard to believe that 'An Early Frost' was made for TV in 1985. I watched it for the first time on 11 November 2008 - 23 years after it was released - and I found it surprisingly fresh and enduring. Although it's an important historic record of the early response to AIDS (and for that reason alone is worth watching) it's more an exploration of family love and courage. The script is well-written, production values are high and the acting is uniformly excellent. Sylvia Sidney won a Golden Globe for her part as the grandmother, but the other main actors including Aidan Quinn (as the young man suffering from AIDS), Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands (playing his parents) are all excellent. A very rewarding experience.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I rated it a nine, nothing is perfect. =0)

Author: ToddyEnglish from United States
13 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An Early Frost has to be one of the finest made for television films I've ever seen. And it is hard to believe that, in 1985, it was the FIRST movie that actually dealt with the topic. In the new millennium the mere mention of a antibiotic resistant tuberculosis was enough to cause a national panic. But, the emotions AIDS seemed to engender during that era were hostility and out and out apathy.

The story centers around a young attorney, Michael Pierson--played brilliantly by Aidan Quinn--who's just made partner at his prestigious law firm. On the outside Michael seems to have everything: a great job, a great family, a posh apartment, and all of the proverbial trimmings(including a handsome boyfriend,). However, during that time, to be gay was to be damned by the conservative right wing Reagan Era Administration(owned lock, stock, and smoking barrel by the "Moral Majority"). Now, add to that Michael has just discovered that he has AIDS(the acronym that ensured certain death for thousands of people). Suddenly, the life Michael has worked so hard to conceal has come to the forefront in a major way. Upon his diagnosis Michael knows that he can no longer keep his homosexuality a secret, which ultimately heads up the ensuing drama and heart break.

When I was a small child(I was four or five years old when this movie aired)I had no concept of what "AIDS" was or the epidemic, let alone this wonderful film. I was only interested in my toys and going out to play. Meanwhile, just outside of my blissful little la-la land an entire community was under seiged by an invisible terror.

Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowalands co-star as Michael's parents. Their performances were nothing short of heart wrenching. Mrs. Pierson reminded me so much of my own mother after I came out about being gay. When she held her son, and protected him from his father's misplaced rage, it jarred me. In her I saw my own mom's need to love and care for me no matter what. I initially hated Nick Pierson; however, as the film progressed I began to empathize with him. Ben Gazzara was absolutely brilliant.

While the film could be preachy in spots(sometimes I felt as though I was watching a PSA about AIDS. Each character took the time to do a monologue about HIV/AIDS)I realized that, at that time, there was a need for people to be educated. What I loved most about "An Early Frost" was that it gave AIDS a face and a name. The thousand of people who were treated like moral degenerates were people who worked hard, paid their taxes, had families, friends, lovers, and everything that everyone else with a pulse holds dear. Those people society spat upon were human beings too, worthy of the precious gift of life.

We've come such a long way since then, but it is horrifying to know that we still have such a ways to go in order to beat AIDS. This film gave me so much more respect for people living with AIDS and those that are living with people living with AIDS.

It was an excellent movie that I would like to own. It was depressing yet uplifting all at once.


The extras has a documentary about a young man dying of AIDS. It will break your heart. This DVD is not for the emotionally faint. But I recommend it as you will learn a great deal.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Ground breaking...

Author: lambiepie-2 from Los Angeles, CA
29 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very young when this film came on television. Let me be very, very honest here: I didn't WANT to watch this film when it came out because I was young....and very misinformed.

At that time, AIDS was a "gay" disease to me. And those who were stricken with it, I believed were not in the circles I was in -- so there wasn't any interest in me watching this film.

Not until I came to understand the hard way that AIDS was not a gay disease - it was a disease without color, sex or shape -- and when this film came on for the second time, I understood it. This film was an important step to me in realizing this -- and right after seeing this for the second time...that's when everyone around me began succumbing to the disease and I had to experience first hand how hospitals, friends, employers, neighbors..families began to act -- just like many scenes in this made for TV film. It is a "made for TV film" which meant in those days - not a whole lot of money to get a story told. But it was done well, the emotions of those effected by this was as close to everyday emotions could get. Questions? You betcha. The acting was just fine -- except for those typical 'movie of the week' moments -- but this subject matter overcame all of that for me. I cared. I learned. I got prepared.

Ground breaking to say the least, one of the most important made for TV films of the 20th century. No, it's not a 'perfect film' but for the mid-80's and now -- an important enough film, a compassionate enough film that shows the early days of one of the most horrible diseases to effect mankind...and how mankind reacts(ed)....

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Groundbreaking and heartbreaking

Author: jjnxn-1 from United States
30 April 2013

Great film was groundbreaking at the time of its premiere, the information is obviously dated now but it doesn't diminish the pictures message.

Aidan Quinn is strong in the lead giving a firm center to the story and he's surrounded by top flight costars. Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara, both excellent as his parents, add to the film substance with the small details in their interactions with each other presenting them as a long time married couple reacting differently to devastating news but always believably being who they are. Sylvia Sidney is equally good as the loving, wise grandmother and John Glover wry and touching as a fellow victim who has been deserted by his family.

A powerful experience and a reminder of how fragile life can be.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

My comment about AN EARLY FORST

Author: sgallaro1 from Italy
1 November 2006

I think this is the most interesting film that I have ever seen about the topic of AIDS, and I must admit that all the actors are exceptional, especially the gay couple performed by Aidan Queen and D.W. Moffett and Sylvia Sidney! AN EARLY FROST is a very good film and I suggest to see it, if you have not still seen it: it is tender and beautiful and well done; besides, in my humble opinion, it make us reflect about this terrible disease and tolerance, love and acceptation too. In fact, for the first time a patient with AIDS is mostly cosidered only a human being and not like a number or a statistic. Finally I appreciate the tender way to treat the topics of AIDS and homosexuality. I also believe that it is an evergreen film and TV could propose it still today; in fact it is very actual!

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