The Normal Heart

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.41.37 PMThe Academy fell hard for “Dallas Buyers Club” last year, as did many of us. The raw edges that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leo telegraphed from the big screen made me rather shrink into my cushy theater seat. However, after Netflixing an HBO TV movie from a similar era, “The Normal Heart,” I realized that authentic empathy felt forced for the victims in “Buyers Club.” To me, it was more about the fine acting than the characters they played. Empathy, for me at least, was academic. Conversely, the personal passion and pain that Mark Ruffalo brings to his role in “The Normal Heart” put me inside the struggle, and I felt a jolt of the collective hopelessness that the gay community experienced when the world overlooked the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic. I realize that this sounds overly dramatic, but I think it matters that we try to grasp what it would feel like to see our friends dying, and come to the stark realization that everyone knows it, but no one else cares.

Barbara Motley



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