The Normal Heart (TV Movie 2014) Poster

(2014 TV Movie)

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Tragic Story about the Early Days of the AIDS Epidemic
JustCuriosity25 May 2014
The Normal Heart is powerful emotional film about the early days of the AIDS crisis. While the characters are fictionalized, the events and the struggles are all too real. The film provides a valuable history lesson for those too young to remember the politics and emotions of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. The film dramatizes the criminal neglect of both the Reagan administration and Ed Koch's administration in New York City. It shows the complexity of the struggles within the gay community as they tried to come to grips with an epidemic while still trying to challenge a culture that barely acknowledged their existence. In many ways, the film dramatizes just how far we have come and still suggests that we have a long way to go. Some scenes are simply heart-breaking. The film is well-acted particularly by Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Alfred Molina and Julia Roberts. HBO has shown again that it is in the forefront of bringing socially conscious drama to the screen and for that they should be commended. I recommend the film to all who are willing to watch with an open heart.
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"We are all walking time-bombs..."
moonspinner5525 May 2014
Heart-rending, gut-wrenching adaptation by Larry Kramer of his own successful play about the foundation and formation in 1982 of the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City in the wake of what was then-called the Gay Cancer (now HIV/AIDS). Dramatization of events, with Mark Ruffalo's screenwriter Ned Weeks substituting for Kramer, is necessarily a no-holds-barred examination of gay sex in the '80s and its consequences, with the gay community themselves their own worst enemy (by being asked to abstain in the wake of more information on the disease, they felt oppressed as a modern culture and rebelled). In spite of an agonizingly long gestation period for this material (which Barbra Streisand optioned years ago, but was unable to finance), director Ryan Murphy has crafted an immediate and powerful document, alternately angry, sexy, tough, moving and thoughtful. Though "Longtime Companion" and the cable-film "And The Band Played On" have covered the AIDS epidemic (and done it extremely well), that does not lessen the impact of this HBO film, which packs an emotional wallop. Performances from Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and the entire cast are superlative.
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People Definitely Need to Watch This Movie
M Campbell3 June 2014
I'm haunted by memories of gay friends dying in 80's when getting AIDs was a death sentence and no one seemed to care. My boyfriend's brother was one of those Fire Island boys who was so convincingly played by Mark Ruffalo (Ned Weeks). I know Mark as a comedian, but he so captured the anger that must have been felt by so many gay men who's lovers were dying and they could do nothing to stop it, no matter how much money they had. As for Matt Bomer (Felix Turner), I have to say I think he deserves an academy award for his transformation from the handsome dashing man he is, to the gaunt shadow of a figure he became due to his role's AIDs illness. What a real acting force he has become, and this role shows he is so much more than just a handsome face. Also well played was Julia Roberts depiction of Dr. Emma Brookner (Dr. Linda Laubenstein in real life who's unfunded research helped so many), Jim Parsons warm loving portrayal of character Tommy Boatwright who was the heart of the movie and showed the warmth and caring of most gay men I've known, and Taylor Kitsch portrayal of Bruce Niles which showed the reality of Gay men of that era, who feared having their sexual identity out in the public eye with all the negative consequences (harassment, job discrimination, loss of family) of that.

This is a story that people definitely need to see, to understand how this disease spread unchecked for so long. If not for the efforts of men like Ned Weeks and the Gay Activist Alliance's efforts get funding for research when no public official would even acknowledge there was a problem, who know how many more people have died and would be dying today. This is an angry gritty movie, that doesn't hold back from telling it how it was. It's also a heartbreaking story of how people treat others who are outwardly different yet inwardly the same as themselves. Which is why, whether you're gay or straight, you can relate to the sad love story told here, and the heroism of those who fought the battle to find a way to stop the deaths devastating their community. It's shockingly true that our government let this epidemic get out of control and until deaths started affecting the heterosexual community, and famous people (like Rock Hudson) did nothing to stop its rampage.
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One of the most amazing and affecting movies ever made
jerseychica19855 June 2014
When I sat down to watch The Normal Heart, I had no idea just how much I was about to be moved, amazed, traumatized, enraged, heartbroken, and enlightened. I've been passionate about gay rights and issues ever since I knew what it was to be gay, and I had not one clue how horrible the AIDS epidemic was at its inception. The Normal Heart is an unflinching look at a horrific time in our history where human beings were treated by the masses as garbage. Literally. And that's when they were even being acknowledged at all. Every actor involved gave an Oscar-worthy performance, ironically in a movie that is not eligible for the award. Mark Ruffalo's passion jumps right out of the screen at you, and in both its most angry and its most devastating, you're right there with him. Julia Roberts gives an Erin Brockovich-like performance times ten. Jim Parsons is wonderful in the first role most of us are seeing him outside of Sheldon Cooper, both with his moments of humor and more importantly with his heart. Many kudos also to Taylor Kitsch, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina, Finn Wittrock, and of course Ryan Murphy for his fearless and beautiful direction. But Matt Bomer... Matt Bomer is THE star among stars, pulling at every single one of your heartstrings in one of the bravest roles ever committed to film. This is without a doubt one of the most important movies you will ever see.
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A brilliant film of a brilliant play: The tragedy of AIDS
gradyharp26 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Larry Kramer adapted his much honored play 1985 play THE NORMAL HEART, an autobiographical reenactment of the period of time from 1980 to 1984 when the mysterious scourge of AIDS decimated thousands of gay men. Ryan Murphy sensitively directs a cast of some of the finest actors in cinema and a cadre of actors form the stage in a heart-stopping reminder of a time when it seemed the world might just be ending.

The film focuses on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo), the gay Jewish- American founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Ned prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner (Matt Bomer), none of whom are prepared to throw themselves into the media spotlight. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal. But that is only part of the territory this film covers – from the newly post- Stonewall sexual freedom as highlighted on Fire Island, to the gradual finding of Kaposi's sarcoma as badges on dying men, to the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial. The film is more like and opera than a play, with extended monologues by the polio stricken Dr Emma Brookner (a magnificent Julia Roberts), the agonizing anger of Mickey Marcus (Joe Mantello in an unforgettable performance), the active but cautious Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch proving he can handle major roles in drama), the cautious reporter Felix Turner (Matt Bomer in a career making role) as he gradually succumbs to Aids in the arms of his lover Ned Weeks, the standard bearer Tommy Boatwright (Jim Parsons), and smaller but equally impressive roles played by Alfred Molina, Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare, Danielle Ferland and on and on.

But it is the towering performance by Mark Ruffalo who manages to bring the audience into the heart of the film. It is an Emmy worthy performance and certainly one for the finest roles Ruffalo has ever mastered. Cliff Martinez manages the musical score with aplomb. The film contains some nudity and some suggestive innuendos, but they all seem important to the story and are not just placed in the film for effect. This is a film that will stun, cause tears, and make a lot of older people weep at the trials of the period reflected and the losses of loved ones during that medical travesty.
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Great Movie, Does Honor to those affected by AIDS
paulzie5526 May 2014
Over 35 million people have died from AIDs and each person affected by HIV/AIDS has their own story to tell. Not to say that every AIDs movie is immune to criticism, but on a whole this film was excellent. Larry Kramer wanted his vision regarding the AIDS epidemic to include love and relationships in the gay community. The Normal Heart is about how the gay community, especially the gay men, were suffering from the AIDS virus as well as the prejudices and ostracism of the public's reaction to the epidemic and who it affected. The Normal Heart is about love, affection,and intimacy regardless of who it is between and to remind people of the suffering of those affected by HIV/AIDS.
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Jasmine snow30 May 2014
I never cry when watching movies or reading books but this one really got to me. I believe it was an important story that needed to be told. The movie was brought alive by amazing actors (especially Matt Bomer<3) I really do hope that this movie is taken seriously and gets more attention due to the fact that more people need to know about AIDs awareness and because discrimination and segregation still happens within the gay community which I find absolutely disgusting. If we really did believe in equal rights and all that BS we wouldn't be shunning gay people. And for those of you who are saying only gay people can enjoy this movie that is so stupid. I'm 100% straight and loved this definitely I my top 10 fav movies:) I definitely recommend watching this movie!
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What passion looks like, and what bureaucracy did to stop it.
lambiepie-226 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Make no mistake, what this film is about, is a human being's one man crusade of passion -- Ned Weeks passion. What you'll see throughout this film, is those who care more for politics and bureaucracy than hard, gut-wrenching, passion. What do you do when you know what you're saying is right, and those around you know its right too..but just want you to 'calm it down' to be heard. Ned Weeks friends were dying all around him, even those he didn't know were dying, and he wanted those in power to take action -- the people in his own circle -- but they felt the way he was projecting "the message" was diminishing their strides for acceptance and freedom to "the group". What to do? Ryan Murphy directs a film version of an off-Broadway play of the mid 80s from Larry Kramer who knows of what he speaks (and a Broadway Tony winning revival a few years ago), as he also helped/founded many AIDS groups. His main character Ned seemed to be a voice in a time where this type of voice was not listed to, given a platform, even shunned against to try to bring attention to what was happening to gay men at the beginning of the AIDS crisis. When nobody in your group listens to your valid points to stop death as well as the local, State or Federal government -- imagine the hell you'll face! That's the hell Ned faced.

For me, if the film was more directed on Ned's strong arm advocacy, I might've scored it higher because that was the important point I took away from the film. Mark Ruffalo did fine, but I think he would have been better if he had more of the 'advocacy' to work with. It upset me to see Ned Weeks battle against those he was trying to help. I didn't see him as an egotistical, self-centered, know it all as they claimed, but as someone who was pushy, loud and told the truth to gay men when the truth was hard to take; and he had no problem getting into the face of those who cold spread that message as he felt, it would save lives. Even the one that eventually hit home.

I appreciate Director Murphy's unflinching realness associated with behaviors at that time, from the clandescent gay sexual encounters to the monogamous ones, all under the beginnings of a real impending health crisis. There are a few stories of men who were treated like dirt as the disease consumed them in life and death, and it is heart wrenching to watch that's to Murphy's direction. And by the way, this is not fiction, and you re-live what many did back then. Julia Roberts as Emma was to show the very, very few people in the medical profession who 'tried' at that time only to get ignored (shunned, treated ignorantly, etc.) as well, and she was quite New York 80s in her portrayal which made her performance quite believable.

It's hard not to compare this to the other films about the early days of AIDS, but this is a different tale, and should be seen as such. Some may not because the advocacy focus get's played down at points when it should have been the hard focus. It's an advocacy and bureaucracy tale, and there is where the film falters as it does skew a bit away from that at times. To focus on Ned Weeks struggle really comes when he goes head to head with what he thought was his compatriots, comes in the latter part of the film. New York bureaucracy and politics was hell, even moreso than Washington at that time, but even worse than that, is the in-fighting. Joe Mantello as Micky really sums this up very, very well and is one of the best performances here. Dennis O'Hare brought a chill to my spine as an "Ed Kotch" representative, a small but pivotal part for this story -- and I bring this up because I wanted more seen of this too to drive this story home.

Matt Bonner takes on the part of Ned's lover Felix who becomes infected with AIDS, and goes through one of the most heartbreaking metamorphoses seen in film as the disease progresses. The thing is, after all the other films one may expect this type of part, but it is Director Murphy along with Bonner that makes this one go the distance as it doesn't flinch from every gory detail. There is nothing romantic about this, it is a disease shown that just doesn't affect his life, but the life of those around him -- like any other terminal illness. Again where the film breakdown is in this ending, which I think was more "contemporary" (2014) than taking the hard line of Ned and his 'beating himself up' for not being more of an advocate to 'save' his lover.

Let me also add that Jim Parson's role as Tommy is another great performance as someone caught in the middle. There is a line Tommy says at a funeral that just brings me to tears, and if it doesn't touch anyone out there, then maybe...they don't have a normal heart. I hope everyone gives this a look because it's not over, and we have much to learn from the past.
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Depressing but essential viewing
preppy-326 May 2014
Movie that details when AIDS hit in 1981...and the government did nothing to stop it (because it was killing just gay men). It has writer Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) fighting a battle to get the news out and attacking the NYC government for doing nothing to stop it. He also falls in love with Felix Turner (Matt Bomer) a newspaper reporter. It follows him and his friends up to 1984 when the epidemic becomes too big to ignore.

I came out in 1981 and this movie captures EXACTLY what it was like. The anger, fear, hysteria and homophobia surrounding AIDS made life a living hell for gay men. This movie made me cry more than once because it bought back all the memories of friends dying...and no one seemed to care. Ruffalo is GREAT in the lead role. More than once he explodes and perfectly captures the anger and frustration gay men were feeling back then. Basically mostly the entire cast was great. Bomer was good as Felix, Julia Roberts was GREAT as a doctor who is handicapped and very frank and Taylor Kitsch was good as Bruce Niles. The only bad performance was by Jim Parsons. He tries a dramatic role and was terrible. Very wooden. Also the movie is a too long and the ending overly dramatic. Still this is essential viewing....especially for gay teens who have no idea what we went through. VERY depressing but it must be seen.
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Tough and brutal, yet it's an honest fight for love, life and a civil right to be different.
Danny Blankenship28 May 2014
Just watched the HBO original movie the "Normal Heart" which is based on a Tony award winning play from real life AIDS activist Larry Kramer, and I must say that director Ryan Murphy took this film to life's edge showing that love and life ends in the tragic and sad deaths of gay men. Set in New York city during the early to mid 80's at the very early stages of HIV/AIDS in fact the film shows the first deaths and early cases of gay men getting an unknown disease some called even a gay men's cancer plague. In these very early years the disease was still searching for a name and it was known only as a gay disease. After death after death a newspaper reporter Ned Weeks(in a super performance from Mark Ruffalo)starts to become an activist and fight for the rights of gay men and he faces a big climb from the political and medical community who both seem in denial of gay men's rights and they have no clue on how to treat the disease. Ned sees the pain and toll that it takes as his lover Felix(Matt Bomer)falls to defeat in the end from this new mysterious killer of gay men. In an outstanding performance veteran Julia Roberts is high strong and determined as a polio stricken doctor Brookner who was one of the first in the country to treat gay men for this disease. She has hope and fights for change. Overall this film is a painful watch about life, love, and in the end death still it's message is it's okay to fight for life and equal justice even if your different and love one of your own gender. Overall a must watch film that shows the early harsh days of the AIDS birth.
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Must see
pfeifferpack2003-127 May 2014
Thought provoking and heart-breaking look back at the dark days of the early terror of HIV. It pulls no punches in showing that AIDS was largely ignored as long as it was primarily in the Gay community (should be to our shame). Makes you wonder how far we might have gone in the research and containment of this disease had we gotten behind ending it from the start. Lots of lip service from those who had the power to actually help but little action whereas in the Gay community shown in this film...the average person came up to the bat and fought with everything they had to save those they loved.

Beautifully acted and moving. Not a false note in the entire film. But aside from that it is important in content.
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Touching, Heartwarming and Truly Devastating
cassie-wrenn9 June 2014
I am struggling to find the right words to use. This movie was/is one of the most brilliantly written, brilliantly directed and acted that I have seen in years. The pain and struggles were balanced with just the right amount of laughter as to not completely destroy the watcher. Make no mistake, you will be destroyed at the end but somehow you don't mind. This is a MUST watch for anyone under 40 especially. For those of us that are old enough to remember what those early days were like, it is a reminder that is painful to watch, but makes us joyful that we have come so far. We still have so much farther to go. Mark Ruffalo's performance was extraordinary! His grief, his anger and his passion were palpable. The performance by Jim Parsons blew me out of the water. Good lord it make actually make me watch his TV comedy now that I've seen this!
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Memorable and Heart breaking
Dominic912 June 2014
This is such a well told story. Mark Ruffalo has always been an amazing actor, however here he really takes center stage.He has not had such an impacting role since his breakthrough performance in you can count on me. Julia Roberts and Matt Bomer are also excellent. It is great to see so many great actors coming together to tell such an important story. A scene towards the end of the movie between Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer has particularly stayed with me and really pulled at the heart strings. It is a story that needed to be told and the way the gay community were ignored during this period of time is a disgrace. This is a better movie that the much lauded Dallas Buyers Club and needs to find a wide audience.
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Amazing acting
Red_Identity27 May 2014
I'm a pretty huge fan of American Horror Story, but even I can recognize that it's just a very entertaining, corny trash-fest. Having seen nothing else from Ryan Murphy, I had no idea he had this in him, to direct a film with this much grace and eloquence. Compared to last year's Dallas Buyers Club, this is much better. If it had gotten a theatrical release, it very well could have gotten a lot of Oscar nominations. Although much of the cast is great, Matt Bommer really sails high and above everyone else. Incredible performance, very much an Oscar-winning one if there ever was, and so I hope he gets to win the Emmy at least. This is highly recommended.
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Mark Ruffalo's tour De force
jbarnes-102 June 2014
I saw the film Saturday night, it's still in my head and as I sit here writing this review. I feel a great sense of sadness for all those lost over all of these years, but what is most on my mind is Mark Ruffalo's tour De force performance as Ned Weeks.

Although a fictionalized character based on Larry Kramer, Mark made this part his own, while still keeping the aspects of Kramer's real persona. You could feel his performance, every mood of it (and believe me it runs through all of them). Mark's ability to transform into a gay man (at a time in gay history that was so scary and unimaginable) with such believability was amazing. I forgot I was watching Mark Ruffalo, his performance completely erased his own being.

There are many aspects of the film that critics are tearing into. Critics who were not even alive at the time opinion's on the subject are worthless in my view, but for those critics who have long ago left their pacifiers at home I can agree with some of the negatives.

The film showed only a segment of the gay population living in NYC at that time, primarily the rich A listers who were never political before AIDS and only became so when their own lives were in danger. The majority of gay men did not spend sex filled weekends on Fire island in expensive beach houses. They were working men of all races and incomes who because of their financial circumstances, lack of insurance etc died quickly and with little notice outside their friends and family, if they were lucky enough to have a family that accepted them (remember this was 1981 not 2014).

This film brought back a lot of sadness and regrets for me, I wanted to hug Ned Weeks and tell him that things do get better in the future. It's not often that a performance affects me, but Ruffalo's did, not because he was playing a fictionalized version of a real person, but because he was playing a little bit of a lot of different men, who at the time thought the promised land had finally arrived for gay men and only to see it turn into a Holocast right before their eyes.

I hope that Mark is nominated and wins an Emmy for his performance, because he deserves it.
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The Whole Package
selenaputri9728 May 2014
This film did not just teach me about the tragic events that occurred in the 1980s regarding homosexuals and AIDS but taught me about love, oppression, and society. It was a film that kept me on edge constantly, gripped by the poetic words from Mark Ruffalo's character, such a strong, bold and hysterical personality alongside his partner Felix, Matt Bomer, who I raise my hat to in this film. The entire cast performed stunningly and authentically portrayed the horrors of this time that I appreciate greatly; indeed, this film is not simply about AIDS and the group's fight with the government and with raising awareness within their own community, but addresses multiple problems we have encountered and fought and neglected as well.

It was a film that has never been made before, and had me rolling on the floor laughing by the wit of the characters, as well as bawling my eyes out. I didn't know who was GOOD and who was BAD and what was going to happen and I loved how it ended at the same time I resented that it ended. It has to win something.
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Normal Heart Depicts Abnormal Times ****
edwagreen27 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Watch out for a slew of Emmy nominations for this cable film. There are definite career defining performances by Mark Ruffalo as the AIDS activist. Is he a carrier? As well as Ruffalo, Julia Roberts is superb as the physician, a victim of polio, who is learning about this new awful disease.

The film certainly doesn't put the late Mayor Koch of NYC or President Reagan in good order. Ruffalo is in a never-ending battle joined with the Roberts character in their pursuit of funding for AIDS victims. Roberts literally pleads with gay men to stop having sex with each other.

How the others eventually turn against Ruffalo for his extreme measures is mesmerizing. The prejudices and attitudes towards AIDS victims is keenly depicted in this excellent, memorable film.
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A film that successfully portrays the early days of the AIDS Epidemic
anwaar-morales4 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A tear mover film that really portrays the sadness and the reality of the AIDS Epidemic between the years of 1981-1984. Ned Weeks (portrayed by Mark Ruffalo) brings out the infinite frustration, irritation, and sadness of no one addressing the thousands of people who are dying. Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts) plays the wheel chair bound but strong willed Doctor who's outspokenness and fierceness about the AIDS epidemic is truly remarkable. Felix Turner (Matt Bomer) is Weeks AIDS stricken husband shows Weeks an optimistic approach to life until his very last breath. Bomer does an awesome job at portraying a dying victim but still someone who is trying to live in so many ways. Tommy Boatwright (Jim Parsons) brings humor in very serious and intense situations. Overall I would give this film a 5 out of 5. The actors and actresses in this movie are excellent. The movie really touches on a scary but very misunderstood, homophobic, and judgmental time.
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A television masterpiece.
Stéphane Flauss27 May 2014
I had high expectations for this movie ; I am interested in the subject and the cast was very encouraging. I was not disappointed.

Although the movie is not a cinematographic masterpiece, it can be considered a television one. The approach of the subject is truthful and honest and so is the approach of the characters which complexity builds up all along the movie. I watched the movie as a sort of documentary, a proof of what happened meant to inform a generation that often ignores the early devastating effects of the virus. I was hit by the two well written and well acted monologues of the movie : one is performed by Mark Ruffalo, a gay activist in the movie and the other one by Joe Mantello, an associate of his. Both monologues illustrate the tensions existing in the gay community that was fighting with two enemies at the time : the virus and the social rejection it carried with. A viewing of these two monologues can give evidence of the quality of the original play. The photography is the only disappointing aspect of the movie. Ryan Murphy remained too close to a traditional television style for a subject that deserved a more artistic approach.
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Nothing I can say about this movie will be as good or powerful as experiencing it yourself. Just watch it.
Tony Heck27 July 2014
"We have to do something. No one else will." In the early 1980's a new disease that came to be known as HIV/AIDS came about and was affecting the gay community. Since it was only affecting that community nothing was being done to help find a cure or even talk about it. One brave doctor Emma Brookner (Roberts) was trying to help who she could but without support it was tough. When Ned Weeks (Ruffalo) a gay man with a loud voice takes the lead he has mixed results. First thing I have to say is that this is a tough movie to watch. The movie is fantastic and the acting is amazing but it's not really a feel good type movie that helps you relax and wind down. By default the easiest way to talk about this movie is to compare it to the Dallas Buyers Club. Both are very good but while McConaughey was great in the movie it seemed to lack any real emotion (to me at least). This one is so emotional and powerful that you end up getting mad and outraged at both the government, the ignorance of certain people and even Weeks and his crew. There are certain movies that words can't do justice to and just need to be seen. This is one of them. Overall, nothing I can say about this movie will be as good or powerful as experiencing it yourself. Just watch this. I give it an A.
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Incredibly emotional movie
lmt_is_me15 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It has been a while since I saw a movie that was so overwhelming and brilliantly acted.

For me, I thought Mark Ruffalo was awesome. Seeing that he is not a gay man, his scenes with Matt Bomer must have been difficult. But he is an Academy Award nominated actor so he pulled it off with incredible ease. He was a bit louder than I am used to hearing him and way more confrontational but it was required for this emotional role.

Others that were outstanding were: Julia Roberts (her husband is the cinematographer for this movie), Alfred Molina, the awesome Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer. The last scene in the movie had me crying and thinking.

Thanks HBO for showing this awesome movie. I guess Brad Pitt should be thanked as well :-)
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Masterpiece: Will live forever
robkillian7 June 2014
Rarely does one film capture a time and a movement and a story that anchors the viewer to the story with grace, memory, and power. This perfect movie made from a rewritten Larry Kramer script, .is authentic and powerful in showing both the personalities and a community affected in the early days of the AIDS Crisis in New York. It powerfully reminds us that these deaths cannot go unnoticed anymore; that thirty years later there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for 'the Closet" and that we are often our own worst enemies. But, the grace of the film is that despite this, being flawed, means we also have hearts and souls and dreams and the search for love must go on. The normal heart, our heart, has broken and suffered, and lost too much; but it is still alive and here and breathing and WORTHY of this existence called Life. This story cannot ever be untold now.
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Gritty, unforgiving and emotional story of the AIDS epidemic in New York
sophie-burkholder15 March 2015
This movie is criminally underrated. The Normal Heart should not be ignored and is a standout among TV-movies. Featuring a top-tier cast and great writing, this artfully created film follows the story of Ned Weeks, a man at the forefront of AIDS activism in New York, focusing on the struggle to be taken seriously following the sexual revolution.

The cast of The Normal Heart are extremely capable and fill out their roles perfectly; the characters come alive on screen and portray their 3-dimensional, flawed nature as well as the challenges of "gay politics". Development of these elements keeps the story progressing at a heart-wrenching pace as illness spreads through an entire generation of gay men in New York.
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A no holds barred telling of the birth of HIV/AIDS when it first hit
InsideABanSheesMind26 January 2015
HIV/AIDS these days is almost unheard of, depending on your social circles that is, we all know people who know people who have known people from the 80's/90's that passed away due to the nasty disease and no doubt we have all seen movies or read books that explore the terrible illness as well. It has touched my life personally as well, as I had a few friends diagnosed in the 90's and it is something that has always put fear in my heart. With the education and knowledge surrounding the disease now though we are a lot further advanced when it comes to how to handle those who have caught or are living with the dreaded disease. One thing we have never seen before though is the brutality that came with it, especially when it was first discovered. The Normal Heart is a work of fiction bought to life as a TV movie by the same writer who penned the stage version in 1985 Larry Kramer, add to the mix TV director Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror Story fame and the two bring forth a film version of the play.

Summer of 1981, Ned Weeks is a loud opinionated outspoken New York writer who arrives at Fire Island to celebrate the birthday of his long-time friend Mike's partner Craig. Ned is an openly gay guy which is almost unheard of amongst his social groups, most of his friends are closeted for family or work reason, the party is filled with guys he has known throughout the years. Ned's friend Micky who is dating Craig decide to go for a walk along the beach suddenly Craig feels dizzy and collapses. Later in the afternoon Craig is ready to blow out his birthday candles and suddenly begins to cough uncontrollably. Back in New York City Ned after reading an article about the new disease that seems to be killing off gay men meets up with Dr Emma Brookner who is doing her best to raise awareness about this new disease that only appears to be affecting the gay men of New York. Ned organises a gathering at his home and invites every gay man he can to help educate them and spread the word. From the meeting, Ned and a few friends form a Community Group calling themselves Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) where they help other men who are suffering or know of others suffering with a call centre and general advice…

The performances from this TV movie are outstanding, Ned Weeks is a man you loathe due to his arrogance and loud mouth but he is played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind) Matt Bomer's (White Collar, In Time) transformation has to be seen to be believed as his body slowly deteriorates within the three years the film takes place over. With one of her finest performances to date in my opinion Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Eat Pray Love) excels as Dr Emma Brookner. Also starring Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Taylor Kitsch and a whole heap of others. I felt the performances by everyone were amazing, a rare opportunity to say the cast was chosen perfectly. Ryan Murphy has done a great job with the film, nothing too fancy more letting the actors star and deliver their lines the way it should be.

It's a very heavy film; some scenes are very distressing and no doubt most will need the tissues handy. A great film that tells how things were in the beginning of the AIDS crisis that struck the world without ever apologising for its brutality and heavy delivery. I feel like there is a lot more more I should say about the film but in doing so will give away too much. Well worth watching even though it is a little longer than I feel it needs to be.
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Do the Right Thing
jcnsoflorida2 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Will there be a better summing-up of the early years of AIDS from a New York perspective? I'm pretty sure, No. I find this better than Angels in America, because AA tried awfully hard for poetry. My friends died young. It was not poetic. The Normal Heart is a tough movie, not real poetic. Not for everyone. The message is most vividly imparted by the main character (gay), his older brother and a doctor (both hetero): When your community is in crisis (especially!), don't wait to become perfect. Don't hope and wait for everyone's acceptance and approval. Do what needs to be done. Yes, this movie is flawed. It's also honest and important. If you're at all interested in the early 80s AIDS crisis you must see The Normal Heart.
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