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.