There is no shortage of well made films dealing with issues surrounding the AIDS epidemic. We Were Here from 2011 talks about San Francisco in the 80s and 90s. The Frontline film The Age of Aids took a comprehensive look at the history of the disease from beginning to end. Certainly many fictional films have addressed the topic as well.
When How to Survive a Plague came out last year, I almost didn’t watch it. I thought I had seen all I needed to see and wouldn’t find anything new or surprising in this story. I watched it anyway, and I’m so glad I did. Though it definitely was sad (kleenexes required!) it has notes of hope that other films about AIDS usually don’t share.
It opens at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US, and it follows the group ACT UP, who organized and protested while struggling to get the US government and pharmaceutical companies to develop and research new medications for the disease. It features a large amount of archival footage as well. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 and also was nominated for and won many other awards.
This story was compelling, affecting, and ultimately a beautiful portrait of a horrible situation.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s the trailer for the film.