Search This Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

An Early Frost (1985)

A successful lawyer (Aidan Quinn) in Chicago is diagnosed with AIDS during the early years of the epidemic. He is closeted and his parents (Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara) don't know about his sexual orientation though his married sister (Sydney Walsh) does. Directed by John Erman, this was a landmark film in that it was the first film to address the topic of AIDS. 1985 was still the "dark ages" where fear and ignorance about the disease caused AIDS patients to be shunned and discriminated against. Although the film is not without some inherent flaws, it remains a powerful look at the early days of the "gay plague" when having the disease was still a death sentence before the so called "AIDS cocktail" therapy extended the life expectancy for HIV patients to something resembling normalcy. The film is a showcase for Rowlands and Quinn who give superb performances as the mother and son coming to terms with his illness. My main complaint is that like other such films (LONGTIME COMPANION, PHILADELPHIA), the gay characters are affluent and attractive white collar types as if lower income blue collar gays didn't exist (it took BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN to break the stereotype). The AIDS subject aside, it still remains a potent look at homophobia as Ben Gazzara's father can't seem to accept his son's sexuality. With Sylvia Sidney (excellent!), Bill Paxton, Terry O'Quinn and D.W. Moffett.

No comments:

Post a Comment