About thirty years or so ago, gay men defined their very existence by fucking anything that moved. A lot of these people were also major league assholes, another defining trait of the times. And yet, when they started dropping like flies, they were honestly shocked that no one gave a damn. They were equally shocked when it was suggested that maybe it might be a good idea to keep it in their pants for a while. In the end, countless gays decided they would rather die than give up sex. The Normal Heart tells the story of one man who tried to stop gays from committing suicide by sex.
It’s a pretty good film with a lot of familiar faces. Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, and Jim Parsons give solid performances. Like countless other films before, The Normal Heart wants us to feel guilty for things we had nothing to do with and feel a bit self rightous that we might haved acted better. The main focus is that the main stream media doesn’t care about AIDS, the governement doesn’t care about AIDS, and for the most part, gays of the time don’t care about AIDS. Like the Spanish Flu, AIDS killed everyone it could and only left behind those with some kind of natural immunity, who then went on to be Typhoid Mary types.
One of the more poignant moments has Jim Parsons taking names out of a Rolodecks and setting aside the cards of people who have died. Like everything else in The Normal Heart, it is a heavy handed bit of business and they return to it once too often for me. In the end, we are given the impression that things would have been better if people outside the gay community had paid attention, but it is also made clear that the homosexuals of the time caused their own problems. Mark Ruffalo screaming at straights and gays alike gets pretty old.
The Normal Heart is worth watching, but it’s a story much better told in And The Band Played On.