Critic Reviews

86

Metascore

Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
When it's over, this documentary lingers as a testament to extraordinary human bravery. It stands as one of the most heartbreaking and suspenseful sagas of the year.
100
We're now far enough from that era that seeing it all again feels like a slap to the face in the same way that watching certain moments in the civil rights epic "Eyes on the Prize" chills your bones. This doesn't have that series' stately magnitude. It's smaller and crasser, but it's comparatively galvanic.
95
ACT UP soldiers on today, as it must, given the lack of official attention to the resurgence of HIV among young American men in metropolitan areas.
90
What's so remarkable about their decadeslong campaign, though, is how desperation led to inspiration - to the inspired notion that they, as nonscientists, could still take their fate in their own hands.
88
The most heartbreaking scene shows survivors of the dead reaching through fence railings to scatter their ashes on the White House lawn, where presumably they still rest.
88
It can feel inchoate, dropping the viewer in the middle of events without much context, and it exacts an emotional toll. But its raw quality also makes it compelling viewing.
88
From a terrible epidemic comes a beautiful documentary.
88
How to Survive a Plague, while a shaggier-structured documentary than many, is a heart-wrenching portrait of one of the saddest, most heroic chapters in American history.
88
Presents a cast of characters who must continue fighting, for what's at stake is the very real, very imminent threat of their own deaths.
80
David France's survey of AIDS advocacy should be invaluable to every frustrated movement, as both a road map and a reminder of how vital personal activism remains.

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