Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1989. American Playhouse, Companion Productions, The Samuel Goldwyn Company. Screenplay by Craig Lucas. Cinematography by Tony C. Jannelli. Produced by Stan Wlodkowski. Music by Greg De Belles. Production Design by Andrew Jackness. Costume Design by Walker Hicklin. Film Editing by Katherine Wenning.
A group of gay men gradually lessen in number as the AIDS epidemic ravages through their community of friends throughout the eighties, taking their lives one by one while the government stands silent and the public cries out with hatred and ignorance. Even obituaries of those killed by the disease refuse to name surviving partners as anything but “longtime companions” in the most anonymous possible sense. This excellent, heartfelt drama examines the lives of this ensemble and spares no heartbreak in bringing the realities of the terrible crisis to the big screen. Credited with being the first fictional film to bring cinematic humanity to the AIDS crisis, it is a lot more powerful than Philadelphia and doesn’t pussyfoot its way around gay men’s relationships; unfortunately its not having the star power behind it that Jonathan Demme’s film benefited from means it reached a far smaller circle of viewers. The fantastic ensemble cast includes an early performance by Dermot Mulroney and an excellent supporting turn by Bruce Davison. Director Norman Rene himself succumbed to the disease in 1996.