The Normal Heart

As Pride is coming to a close this year, it’s crucial to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year long. This includes supporting organizations like the Trevor Project or watching media that’s been created by someone from the community. I recently watched the movie, The Normal Heart and it’s heartwrenching. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the Normal Heart revisits a time where the US didn’t do enough to manage another pandemic.

The Normal Heart is based on a play written by Larry Kramer. The play follows activist, Ned Weeks (played by Mark Ruffalo in the movie) who notices this mysterious disease mostly impacting gay men. As he starts to discuss this disease at length, he’s surprised how he cannot get anyone to listen to him. This is during a prejudiced time where many felt this was “god’s punishment” Ned falls in love with his lover, Felix Turner (played by Matt Bomer) although tragedy struck when Felix is diagnosed with HIV. The play and the subsequent movie version highlight how the US failed its people by refusing to provide research sooner.

This movie is difficult to watch. It’s graphic in the way it needs to be to show how HIV has taken young, healthy men and turned them into frail human beings. There’s one man as he lays dying calling out for his dog. I was crying throughout the entire movie because it hurts to know this is real. It’s amazing how far we have come into treating HIV and how many can live completely normal lives. At the core of this story is the discrimination gay men faced in getting basic care.

For those who feel the US isn’t handling Covid-19 correctly, it seems we can only look to our past for our failures. It wasn’t until 1986 where Ronald Reagan mentioned AIDS while addressing the United States. This is stated toward the epilogue of the Normal Heart. This is when discrimination becomes deadly.

The Normal Heart was a well-made movie honoring the brave people who passed away from this awful disease. It’s a movie that shows how media can influence public opinion and how our media can highlight issues before even our government can address them. I would recommend being in a good mental place before watching this because of the difficult nature of the movie. This movie is one of the reasons why Pride still needs to exist, so we never forget how our country failed its community.

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