Monday, May 26, 2014


Larry Kramer’s THE NORMAL HEART first performed at the Public Theater in 1985 was a brilliant AIDS wake up call! It has finally has it made it to the HBO screen. The transformation of the strident, yet timely, advocacy play tittering on melodrama into a deeply moving, historically correct, nuanced representation of how human beings,  in particular gay men, were confronted by a pandemic that found little sympathy or concern in halls of government, the pulpits of churches and the homes of most Americans is remarkable. Kramer’s screenplay in the hands of director Ryan (Glee) Murphy and a superb cast including Mark Ruffalo (playing Ned Weeks the character based on Kramer) and Julia Roberts has opened up the play in the way that only narrative cinema can. Having lived through the period myself and having personal knowledge of all the characters based on real people left me suspicious at first. But it completely brought me back to a time and place of much pain, death, grief, anger and the awakening of the silent majority in the gay male community to the horror of a plague and the restraints of the closet. Highest of praise for Kramer and the integrity of his script; to HBO for allowing Murphy and his accomplished actors to fearlessly represent gay sexuality and relationships authenticly ; to expose homophobia and to role model how the lesbian and gay community grew up in the darkest days of AIDS because of demanding activists like Kramer. It all takes place in the years before Kramer and others founded ACT UP. Like Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, the Normal Heart throws its wings wide and embraces all human beings confronted with loss, grief and anger. Kudos to all involved. The Normal Heart is a must watch.

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