How to Survive a Plague - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How to Survive a Plague Reviews

Top Critic
Cath Clarke
Time Out
November 5, 2013
It can't be long before we see the Hollywood version.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
June 17, 2013
David France has made an absorbing film to document that moment of immense implosion, called How to Survive a Plague.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 7, 2013
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 | Original Score: A-
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 7, 2013
From a terrible epidemic comes a beautiful documentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 2, 2012
A raw history, often cluttered and sometimes repetitive but, when strategies fail along with immune systems, deeply affecting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
November 1, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
October 18, 2012
A serious, moving and sometimes astonishingly well-organized documentary about the history of AIDS activism.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Claude Peck
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 18, 2012
[A] powerful, messy and tremendously moving documentary ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 12, 2012
"How to Survive a Plague" captures a saddening, maddening era that seems like far too many lifetimes ago.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tirdad Derakhshani
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 11, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 4, 2012
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 | Original Score: A-
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Bruce Diones
New Yorker
October 1, 2012
Moving and essential.
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
September 27, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 22, 2012
One of the most important documentaries in years or decades ...
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
September 21, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 21, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
September 21, 2012
A powerful reminder of the ability of committed men and women to agitate, organize and create real change in the world.
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Sara Stewart
New York Post
September 21, 2012
A heart-wrenching portrait of one of the saddest, most heroic chapters in American history.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
September 20, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
September 20, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2012
An exceptional portrait of a community in crisis and the focused fury of its response.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
September 20, 2012
How to Survive a Plague is thorough almost to a fault.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 20, 2012
Tune in to the passionate voices in David France's brilliant documentary ...
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
September 20, 2012
Should be invaluable to every frustrated movement, as both a road map and a reminder of how vital personal activism remains.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 20, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 20, 2012
How To Survive A Plague conveys the urgency of activists who were fighting for their lives.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
September 18, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
September 18, 2012
A nightmarish clash comes to life in this devastating montage of inflamed voices, their rage infusing the very grain of '80s videography.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
February 10, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Dennis Harvey
Variety
January 30, 2012
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.