The Normal Heart(2014)
Submitted by Julio M
Felix (Matt Bomer), Bruce (Taylor Kitsch) and many other friends, romantic partners and acquaintances of the main characters die of AIDS-related complications over time. On a more positive note, however, Ned (Mark Ruffalo) sees a “Gay Week” taking place at Yale and comments on how LGBQT people seemed to finally be able to openly dance and be themselves without fear of being attacked.
Despite being one of the founding members of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Ned is eventually booted out of the organization because of his no-nonsense, combative approach towards all matters being discussed within the organization, contrary to the more diplomatic, compromising ways in which other members -especially Mickey (Joe Mantello)- want to conduct affairs; this, due to constant clashing and tension between everyone.
Dr. Brookner (Emma Roberts) also finds herself fighting her own insurmountable battles, as she unsuccessfully pleads to obtain more funds for AIDS research from an indifferent -and even scornful- Government that refuses to put the disease as the top priority that it was.
AIDS wreaks havoc amongst many of the main characters. Felix, Ned’s journalist boyfriend, develops symptoms and eventually is consumed by the disease, while Ned tends to him as much as possible. Before his inevitable death, Felix arranges for the redaction of a will, with the help of Ned’s lawyer brother, Ben (Alfred Molina). As he dies, he and Ned tearfully profess their love for each other. Moreover, Bruce’s boyfriend Albert (Finn Wittrock), as he is being flown to Phoenix to see his mother one last time, is afflicted with severe dementia and dies shortly upon arrival; but, in order to give Albert a proper burial, Bruce finds himself rescuing his corpse from the hospital’s garbage and bribing a funeral home so they could cremate his body and he could give his ashes back to his devastated mother; he relays this incident with profound anguish and shame to Ned.
Tommy (Jim Parsons) is seen taking names of beloved ones dead from AIDS-related complications, from a massive rolodex on his desk and bundling them up in piles in a desk drawer. At a funeral, he expresses his anger and sadness at how this disease was decimating everyone he cared for, and he expresses his hope for an eventual solution.
Shortly after Felix’s death, Ned goes back to his “alma mater”, Yale, and finds out there is a “Gay Week” event going on. He then witnesses firsthand how many students (gay and lesbian) are happily and tenderly dancing with same-sex partners and proudly comments on it.
The movie ends with title cards informing the progress made towards more recognition of the AIDS situation, the alternatives of prevention and treatment come upon, and how many people have been affected by it. The final scene shows Tommy once again adding another personal info card from his rolodex to his desk pile: the one of Bruce.