The Normal Heart Directed by Ryan Murphy
The Normal Heart
 Directed by Ryan Murphy
Amazon Price : $9.99
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Product Details
  • Released on: 2014-08-11
  • Rating: NR (Not Rated)
  • Subtitled in: English
  • Running time: 132 minutes
  • Customer Reviews

    Most helpful customer reviews

    94 of 97 people found the following review helpful.
    5A brilliant film of a brilliant play: The tragedy of GRID to AIDS
    By Grady Harp
    A brilliant film of a brilliant play: The tragedy of GRID to AIDS
    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 GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) aka 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. Grady Harp, May 14

    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
    By Neil Elliot
    A beautifully updated film version of the '85 play only goes to show that once something is groundbreaking it remains so, years later, especially when the subject of the piece is culturally altering and presently valid and important to address. Larry Kramer, a master author, a title easily justified if only two of his works, the script of WOMEN IN LOVE and the iconoclastic FAGGOTS are used as a measure. To be brief, he has written a basic warning scream into the face of the sleeping millions to make them and the world aware of the horrific disease that has suddenly appeared. Much as the many in Germany who saw what was about to or was already happening and tried to warn others and were met with passivity and disbelief, the frustration experienced by the leading character (based on Mr. Kramer) and soon transferring itself to the viewers of the piece itself only adds validity to this piece of "docudrama".

    Mark Ruffalo once again proves himself to be an actor who has a talent that is to be respected and watched carefully. Over the past few years he has honed his talent so that every move, every moment in this piece is carefully presented as a moment of reality that at times is painful to watch.

    There is humor in the script (as there is in life, or watch out for your psyche), there is romance, there is heartbreak, there is humanity, but above all, there is a story of who each of us can be, in some way, be responsible for the state of our world and have a responsibility to each other that is too often in today's society, ignored.

    Thank you HBO for finally having the good sense to share this piece of art with the world.

    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
    4Worth the time and money
    By kmrotterdam
    This DVD brought back a lot of memories, not that I was on Fire Island (I was just a kid), but I do remember the fear and the transformation of sex into something to be afraid of. The DVD does a great job in conveying the atmosphere of the times. I think it might have been overly nostalgic about the festivities happening on Fire Island, and some points in the show seems melodramatic and exaggerated, but it was overall a DVD that is worth this time and money. Younger kids should watch this so that they can better understand the emotional toll that the AIDS crisis caused for those living in the 80s.

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