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How to Survive a Plague Reviews

Cath Clarke
Time Out
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It can't be long before we see the Hollywood version.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

November 5, 2013
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
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David France has made an absorbing film to document that moment of immense implosion, called How to Survive a Plague.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

June 17, 2013
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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As this stirring, scrupulous doc reveals, the members of ACT UP fused the fervor of revolutionaries, the tenacity of trial lawyers, and the rage of the dispossessed to change the very shape of the epidemic.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A-

January 7, 2013
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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From a terrible epidemic comes a beautiful documentary.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 7, 2013
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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A raw history, often cluttered and sometimes repetitive but, when strategies fail along with immune systems, deeply affecting.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

November 2, 2012
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
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Presents a valuable template for how grassroots activism can temper societal prejudice and challenge governmental indifference in the face of a mysterious and remorseless killer.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 1, 2012
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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A serious, moving and sometimes astonishingly well-organized documentary about the history of AIDS activism.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 18, 2012
Claude Peck
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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[A] powerful, messy and tremendously moving documentary ...

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 18, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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"How to Survive a Plague" captures a saddening, maddening era that seems like far too many lifetimes ago.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2/4

October 12, 2012
Tirdad Derakhshani
Philadelphia Inquirer
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It can feel inchoate, dropping the viewer in the middle of events without much context, and it exacts an emotional toll. But its raw quality also makes it compelling viewing.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 11, 2012
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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Plague isn't the history of a disease so much as the history of a movement, and a portrait of those who refused to suffer passively.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A-

October 4, 2012
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
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Moving and essential.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

October 1, 2012
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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France and his crew have sculpted years of old broadcast-news stories and home videos into a narrative that is impressionistic in its scope but coherent in its feeling.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 4/4

September 27, 2012
Andrew O'Hehir
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One of the most important documentaries in years or decades ...

Full Review Source:

September 22, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Mostly the film toggles between two emotions - the high of watching brave people go to war, and the low of seeing so many of them fall, as entire communities are destroyed.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 21, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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France, drawing on a wealth of video footage from inside the organization, turns that decade of rage, despair, and tenacity into an inspiring tale of effective political action.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

September 21, 2012
Alonso Duralde
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A powerful reminder of the ability of committed men and women to agitate, organize and create real change in the world.

Full Review Source: TheWrap

September 21, 2012
Sara Stewart
New York Post
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A heart-wrenching portrait of one of the saddest, most heroic chapters in American history.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 21, 2012
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
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When it's over, this documentary lingers as a testament to extraordinary human bravery. It stands as one of the most heartbreaking and suspenseful sagas of the year.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

September 20, 2012
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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If the movie expresses equal measures of sadness and outrage, it is charged with the exhilarating excitement felt by soldiers on the front lines of battle.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 20, 2012
Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
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An exceptional portrait of a community in crisis and the focused fury of its response.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 20, 2012
Ella Taylor
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How to Survive a Plague is thorough almost to a fault.

Full Review Source: NPR

September 20, 2012
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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Tune in to the passionate voices in David France's brilliant documentary ...

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

September 20, 2012
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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Should be invaluable to every frustrated movement, as both a road map and a reminder of how vital personal activism remains.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

September 20, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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We grow familiar with the names and faces of many of the leaders in the movement. Some look directly into the camera and say they expect to die of the disease. Some are correct.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 20, 2012
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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How To Survive A Plague conveys the urgency of activists who were fighting for their lives.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B+

September 20, 2012
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
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Dispensing with voiceover narration, How to Survive a Plague is instead a compilation of first-person remembrances, a time-toggling polyphony emphasizing both individual struggles against illness and collective action-the we of me.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 18, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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A nightmarish clash comes to life in this devastating montage of inflamed voices, their rage infusing the very grain of '80s videography.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 5/5

September 18, 2012
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
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A major addition to the body of work chronicling the AIDS epidemic, this is a passionate account of the hard-won breakthrough in making HIV a manageable condition.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

February 10, 2012
Dennis Harvey
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Hindsight allows David France's stirring How to Survive a Plague a concise overview's clarity and an epic narrative shape, with a happy ending to boot.

Full Review Source: Variety

January 30, 2012
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