The Normal Heart

The-Normal-Heart-Mark-Ruffalo-Matt-Bomer

Growing up, coming of age and coming out at the tail-end of the AIDS crisis was a total mind-fuck of terrifying, confusing, emotionally-scarring proportions. (Run that “Pride” meme round your head why don’t you, while contemplating the Gay Cancer….) So: I missed out on the glorious bacchanalia, and landed at a time of fear and shame and grief. Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart was, I think, the very first time that I read a text that brimmed, not with bewildered helplessness and mild exhortations to do better, but with so much anger, so much righteous indignation, so much disgust for those who did nothing. The movie of the play follows the same journey – of grumpy, anti-social Ned Weeks (played with a pent-up, bristling fury by Mark Ruffalo) who goes on the offensive when AIDS first hits his circle of friends, and lobbies with outspoken ferocity for the resources to tackle the crisis. It’s a fantastic film. Ruffalo is excellent and Matt Bomer is just lovely as Ned’s dying boyfriend Felix – it’s a moving, devastating, beautiful star turn from him. And the rest of the cast – Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, Jonathan Groff to name but few – uniformly excellent. For obvious reasons, I found it intensely personal and distressing and I sobbed quietly the whole way through.