The Normal Heart
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Kevin's Review
Ryan Murphy finally puts away his petulant way of telling stories and allows Larry Kramer's script (adapted from his award-winning play) to be angry for him. This is an important story that is well told by a cast that is uniformly excellent. Ruffalo (Ned) is amazing, Julia Roberts disappears into her role and drops the mannerisms that make us always see "Julia," and Matt Bomer is lovely as Ned's boyfriend Felix. Taylor Kitsch is best doing smaller films that show off his acting talent rather than his biceps, and the rest of the cast - many of them openly gay - all do good passionate work. This is a sad film for many reasons, but it is an important part of history that should never be repeated. There are a hundred different layers to Kramer's story and every one of them deserves to be pulled back and witnessed.


Zorianna's Review
There is no denying the historical significance of The Normal Heart and its important place in AIDS history, calling on the government for action. I have not seen the play, so I can only base it on what I saw in the HBO version - it was like watching a horror movie. The body count keeps getting higher. Watching new lesions appear on bodies made me want to vomit. Obviously that's what the script wants to convey - that this was a plague that was literally wiping out an entire community, but Jim Parson's character says at one point: "Bereavement overload" and he's right. The Normal Heart is made with care and passion and deserves respect. But there's no denying the relief one feels when it's finally over.


Aaron's Review
Ryan Murphy, best known for his hit shows Glee and American Horror Story, has adapted this well-known play about the AIDS crisis of the early 80s with a clear purpose. The intention of this film above all else is to create emotion and anger about a terrible time in our recent past. While the film is effective in doing so, oftentimes the message of the film feels heavy-handed. Strong performances from all the leads, including Mark Ruffalo, make this an easier pill to swallow, however, lackluster and by-the-numbers direction weigh it down even more. Viewers who were interested in the story, the play, or the subject matter are going to see it anyway. For newcomers, be forewarned this film will not make you feel good.