HBO’s The Normal Heart: My Unsolicited Review

The Normal Heart Matt Bomer Nude

HBO execs are sneaky, manipulative evil geniuses. Last night, they did not air the usual Sunday night episode of Game of Thrones. Now, normally, that shit would have driven me insane! But, of course, being the aforementioned sneaky, manipulative evil geniuses that they are, HBO aired the premiere of their newest movie, The Normal Heart. Now, how the hell can I be mad at them when they release a movie that stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and Jim Parsons? That combination is seriously like Hollywood crack to me. I mean, Ruffalo, Bomber and Kitsch together are like the perfect trifecta of male sexiness. As for Jim Parsons, I sincerely believe that his Big Bang Theory character, Sheldon Cooper, is one of the best characters in television history, not only because of the way the character is written, but mostly because of his personally stylised portrayal of the character.

I actually missed the premiere of The Normal Heart last night because, like the moron that I am, I fell asleep far too early. However, I just got done watching it, and holy fucking hell, that movie was intense! Please, I beg of you to forgive my vulgarity, but HOLY FUCKING HELL! From beginning to end, this movie had me enraptured, and everything about it was just so perfectly done. The acting was so superb, I can’t even adequately describe it. I’d always known that Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons were great actors, but who the hell knew that Taylor Kitsch had such acting chops?! I mean, I know it’s really wrong to base his acting ability on The Covenant – because that movie was such a fucking piece of crap that not even its special effects and homoerotic insinuations had any sort of redeeming effect – but I still didn’t realise that he was such a good actor. He definitely showed me! And the boys don’t get all the love. Julia Roberts co-starred in The Normal Heart as Dr Emma Brookner, and, as usual, she was phenomenal in the role. From her very first line, I knew that I was going to love her character, and I did.


When Behind the Candelabra came out, remember how everyone made such a fuss for it? It even garnered Michael Douglas an Emmy. I really enjoyed Behind the Candelabra, I truly did. But that movie was NOTHING compared to The Normal Heart. I’m only making the comparison to show the level of accolades that I think that this movie deserves. Just wow. The Normal Heart was so well acted, directed, and written! To think, this was already a famous play and I knew nothing about it! See above for another reminder of how much of a moron I am!


The downside to watching such a well-acted film (besides the damn constant watery eyes) is that you’re as affected by the unlikeable characters as you are by the protagonists. In this instance, the “unlikeable characters” take the form of all the idiotic gay men who refused to take the disease seriously! I was cursing every single one of them to obliteration in my head. However, I completely understand why they were reluctant to give it the level of attention necessary; the film even did a great job of showing their side. After all, it was a new disease, hardly anything was known about it, and the only evident prevention was the complete abstinence from sex until more was known. So, yes, I do understand why they would scoff at it. I think, though, that I was most upset because I know that even today, when so much more is known about AIDS, a lot of gay men in particular aren’t as careful as they should be. Yes, guys, you like sex. No, I won’t ask you stop having it… even if it’s with multiple partners (in a single session). But, please, please, please, be careful and use protection. That means to use a goddamn condom! Also, get tested regularly! This isn’t so that you become paranoid about getting the virus, but so that you and your partner(s) are a tad more protected. Also, for those of you who aren’t already familiar with it, I suggest that you do some research on Truvada, and talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of going on it. And please don’t discriminate against people who do have HIV or AIDS… it doesn’t make you appear any more morally superior! It just makes you appear as a complete asshole.


The only other thing which irritated me about this movie is so silly and superficial that I’m slightly ashamed to admit it. But, in the spirit of full disclosure, here goes. Honestly, it pissed me off whenever Mark Ruffalo did anything to portray effeminacy: hold his wrist limply, sashay while he walked, etc. I totally understand that that may have been the required characteristics necessary of his character, but I hated it. The crazy thing is, I have no issue at all with gay guys who are actually effeminate. I’m not kidding when I say this, but I have the greatest level of respect for them, because it takes a shit ton of balls to be effeminate in a world that hates you for that. However, whenever a straight actor in the role of a homosexual acts effeminate, it comes off to me as deliberate, forced, stereotypical and highly offensive. But I know that that was absolutely not the intention in this case, so I’ll just chill the hell out about it.

In sum, I think that this was such an amazing love story and a great depiction of the early struggle of the AIDS epidemic. My advice is that if you haven’t already seen The Normal Heart, find it NOW on HBO Go! You won’t regret it. And if you do, well… I turn my back on you – and not in the good way.


Photo by Robert Maxwell for W Magazine
Photo by Robert Maxwell for W Magazine

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