Friday, May 30, 2014

The Normal Heart

Last night, I watched most of The Normal Heart, HBO's new film about the early days of the AIDS epidemic.  Tears were streaming down my face, although it's mostly because my allergies are going haywire at the moment.  (For the past 50 hours, I've had brief sensations of odor, and almost none of taste.)

I think the writing was pretty good, but I'll just come out and say it: I bought Mark Ruffalo's performance except for all the parts where he added a bunch of swish.

The canted hips, the occasional limp wrist.   He's smart not to overdo it, but it's still an affectation that's totally unnecessary and a bit showy.  It calls attention to his performance --oh, look, straight actor playing gay-- and takes you out of the moment.

Matt Boemer, who plays Ruffalo's doomed partner in the film, and is actually a gay man in real life, doesn't do any of that.  He plays it, pardon the expression, fairly straight.

Hate to say it, but Boemer's comes off as the more powerful performance.

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