14 comments on “The Normal Heart

  1. I hope I get the opportunity to see this. When I saw the stage version in London mid-80s the subject hadn’t started affecting me personally in the way it was to during the following seven or eight years, so I was pretty detached, though actively fearful of what might happen – which it did. I’m sure I’d have a different take on it now with all that water under the bridge, and with every one of my closest friends having been swept away. What you say about this production makes it all the more ‘necessary’. (In any case I’m not one to miss out on the chance of seeing Mr Ruffalo – in anything).

    Btw: I search your blog (and that of HOD) in vain for your view(s) on ‘Jersey Boys’. Did you go?

  2. I just saw the film a week or so ago. I had never read or seen the play. I was expecting a depressing account of that time. Instead I got vibrant history lesson via a collection of amazing performances. It made me cry. At the end I said aloud, “Thank goodness for people like Larry Kramer.”

    • I was chatting with a friend last night. He watched it Memorial Day Weekend when it premiered but we hadn’t discussed it because I hadn’t watched it yet. He too had never read nor seen the play before seeing the HBO film. He said he thought it was really well done but on first viewing really did not like Ruffalo’s performance. “All he does is yell”. He said he watched it again a couple of weeks later and liked it more the second time. I told him, for whatever it’s worth, I thought the Ned character was more modulated in the movie than the times I’d seen it onstage. Besides, I think ‘anger’ is the point Kramer was trying to make.

  3. I watched it a few nights ago and enjoyed it, though I fought back tears a few times. It reminded me of the book And the Band Played On which concerns those early years of the epidemic and the politicking and frustrations that Kramer voices in the play.

    • I liked Randy Shilts’ book, And The Band Played On very much as well as the movie made from it. It didn’t have the same emotional impact on me that The Normal Heart did, maybe because it was more about the politics. It was powerful however. I was reminded of it during The Normal Heart too. I think Ned was talking to the guys from the mayor’s office who was talking about how few cases there were so far. I thought of the scene in “And The Bank….” where he asks the Red Cross how many dead hemophiliacs they need before they take action about the blood supply.

  4. I continue to wish I had the talent to modulate my thoughts and words the way you do. (Any more, and I’ll drift into sycophancy;-) Have not seen ‘Normal Heart. A friend just sent me an email mentioning ‘Longtime Companion’, and now I want to see that again after many years. There are two movies with ‘fantasy codas’ that refuse to spare my emotions – ‘Longtime Companion’ and ‘Places in the Heart’, each tugging at me for different reasons.

    • Thanks for the compliment. I wish I had the talent for brevity you display in your blog.

      I share your feelings about Longtime Companion.It is even more human than The Normal Heart and has less of the politics. It’s another one that I love but have to prepare my frame of mind to watch.

      Intrigued by your comments about Crimes of the Heart. I remember the play well. (I designed and built a set for a local production of it once). I saw the movie but don’t recall it being particularly affecting for me. That’s one of the great things about theater. Everyone brings their own unique life experience into the room with them so when the material is good, as Beth Henley’s play certainly is, the experience of seeing it is both unique and shared.

  5. I thought, ‘Did I write ‘Crimes of…’ rather than ‘Places in…’ ?
    Nope! Whew! Your brain, not mine;-)

    If I saw ‘Places in the Heart’ for the first time today, who knows how I’d respond, but thirty years ago, my reaction shocked me. Major tears. I’m self-aware enough to know that at that time, it was definitely the ‘life experience’ that I brought with me. Dangerous triggers, the theatre and the movies!

    • Ha! My brain indeed! Probably something Freudian in that transposition. Maybe I’ll get “Crimes of Passion” from Netflix and complete my internal circle of confusion.

      I saw Places in the Heart but don’t recall it that clearly. There was a period when a number of female stars made films with, at least superficially, a similar thread. Sally Field with “Places in the Heart”. Jessica Lange with “Country”, and Sissy Spacek in “The River” all came out in 1984.

      ….and I’m old 🙂

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