There is less reporting on poverty in America than on any other major societal issue. So it is with AIDS. That alone makes The Normal Heart an important film.
Matt Zoller Seitz
If anger and suffering were all there were to The Normal Heart, watching it would be torture. Luckily, it has heart to match its guts.
Matt Bomer is heartbreaking as a New York Times style reporter looking for love in a loveless city. His physical transformation is astonishing and agonizing.
Time, and rewrites, have softened some of the play's stridency. More important, the romance between Weeks (Ruffalo) and his lover, Felix (Bomer), is given a more prominent role as is Felix's death spiral, giving the story power both broad and intimate.
Moving, well acted and important for a generation who may be unfamiliar with the source material. But the TV version, also written by Kramer, doesn't have the emotional heft of the play.
Watch at your own risk, but to not watch the film - or more importantly, learn from it - is an even higher risk.
Overscored and overwrought, The Normal Heart is a tough pill to swallow. The direction of Ryan Murphy (Glee) is piercingly staccato (and visually inconsistent). The tender moments don't resonate, and the fraught moments feel hysterical.
Nancy DeWolf Smith
In a film directed by Ryan Murphy and with strong performances, including those by Mr. Ruffalo, Ms. Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Alfred Molina, Mr. Mantello's anguished lament may be the most haunting.
Some 30 years later, this movie-strident, passionate, frenetic, and aching-is a reminder, as Memorial Day weekend begins the summer, of all those empty spots the plague left on the beach.