entertainment

HBO's 'The Normal Heart': What are the critics saying?

2014-05-24
normalheartThe Normal Heart is set to debut in the US tomorrow night (May 25), and the HBO film is already receiving almost universally positive reviews. Based on Larry Kramer’s 1985 play of the same name, The Normal Heart is set in New York City in the early 1980s at the onset of the HIV-AIDS epidemic. Mark Ruffalo stars as Ned Weeks, a writer and LGBT activist who witnesses the spread of a disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in the gay community, and sets out to discover the truth. His co-stars include Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, Joe Mantello and Julia Roberts; Kramer wrote the screenplay based on his own play; and Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) served as director. "It is emotionally raw, harrowing, and a thing of such singular horrific beauty, it will move you, exhaust you and, almost paradoxically, thrill you at the heights television drama can attain," says the San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand. The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman also praises the adaptation, saying: "Murphy and Kramer do the play justice (as you would expect) and have created a powerful modern history reminder for those too young to understand the all-too-recent past." "The movie, adapted by Mr. Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy, simultaneously exposes some of the play’s flaws and finds alternate sources of power in the story," says a largely enthusiastic Neil Genzlinger of the The New York Times. normalheart Variety's Brian Lowry is also impressed overall, writing: "In its totality, [The Normal Heart] represents a powerful piece of work, with Ruffalo overcoming the prickly aspects of his character to convey his pain, and Jim Parsons delivering a wonderful supporting turn, including a sobering scene in which he talks about eulogizing fallen friends." However, The Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan is a little more cautious, saying: "The film just about rises above its many flaws, thanks to a some committed and affecting performances from seasoned actors like Mark Ruffalo, Joe Mantello and a surprisingly effective Julia Roberts." The Normal Heart debuts tomorrow night (May 25) on HBO. In the UK, it will air on Sky Atlantic at a date to be confirmed. Watch full-length trailer for HBO’s ‘The Normal Heart’
Streisand on ‘The Normal Heart’: ‘I’m glad it’s finally here’