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The Normal Heart Review


Excellent

It's taken nearly 30 years to bring Larry Kramer's passionate, award-winning play to the screen, but this high-calibre production is a genuine stunner. Even if it was made for television, it carries the gut-punch of a great drama, adding a deeply personal perspective to recent Aids epidemic documentaries like How to Survive a Plague and We Were Here.

At the centre is the outspoken writer Ned (Mark Ruffalo), who has already ruffled feathers in the 1981 New York gay community with his rants against promiscuity. So when a close friend (Jonathan Groff) comes down with what has been labelled "gay cancer", he has a new cause to get angry about. He gathers his buddies including Bruce, Tommy and Mickey (Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Joe Mantello) to form an action group, working with Emma (Julia Roberts), a doctor who suspects that the disease is sexually transmitted. But the community isn't willing to give up its hard-fought sexual freedoms. And as Ned falls for Times journalist Felix (Matt Bomer), he becomes increasingly outraged that the government is doing nothing while thousands of people die.

Kramer's script is so intimate and raw that it brings the characters to vivid life, giving each of the actors a show-stopping scene of his or her own. Ruffalo's complex and remarkably transparent performance holds everything together beautifully. Ned's relationships and confrontations all pack a powerful punch, from the romantic scenes with Bomer's lively Felix to darker strain with his brother (Alfred Molina) or an all-out battle with a politician (Corey Stoll). And Roberts gets some pungent scenes of her own, most notably a fiery rant against a room full of callous congressmen.

Continue reading: The Normal Heart Review

John Logan, Sting, Gordon Sumner, Joe Mantello and Steven Hoggett - Photocall for the musical "The Last Ship" at New 42nd Street Studios - New York, New York, United States - Monday 28th April 2014

John Logan, Sting, Gordon Sumner, Joe Mantello and Steven Hoggett
John Logan, Sting, Gordon Sumner and Joe Mantello

Stacy Keach, Joe Mantello, Jon Robin Baitz, Judith Light and Stockard Channing Thursday 31st May 2012 Stacy Keach, Thomas Sadoski, Judith Light, Stockard Channing, Jon Robin Baitz and Joe Mantello Sardi’s Portrait Unveiling held at Sardi’s restaurant. New York City, USA – 3

Stacy Keach, Joe Mantello, Jon Robin Baitz, Judith Light and Stockard Channing
Stacy Keach
Stacy Keach

Matthew Risch, guest and Joe Mantello Thursday 12th January 2012

Joe Mantello
Joe Mantello

Joe Mantello and Jon Robin Baitz - Joe Mantello and Jon Robin Baitz New York City, USA - Opening night after party for the Lincoln Center production of 'Other Desert Cities' held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Thursday 3rd November 2011

Joe Mantello and Jon Robin Baitz
Joe Mantello

John Benjamin Hickey and Joe Mantello - John Benjamin Hickey and Joe Mantello New York City, USA - 2011 56th Annual Drama Desk Awards held at Manhattan Center - Press Room Monday 23rd May 2011

John Benjamin Hickey and Joe Mantello
Joe Mantello

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The Normal Heart Movie Review

The Normal Heart Movie Review

It's taken nearly 30 years to bring Larry Kramer's passionate, award-winning play to the screen,...

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