An Early Frost - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

An Early Frost Reviews

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May 23, 2016
first TV movie 2 deal with AIDS & a pre-cursor to "Philadelphia"
January 11, 2014
very touching,according to me deserved a Oscar for Aidan Quinn and i like Ben Gazzarra and Gena Rowlands
½ March 25, 2012
A bit hammy and movie-of-the-week but worth watching as an artifact as one of the first films addressing AIDS.
December 6, 2009
As the first reviewer for the community I feel an obligation.

This was a groundbreaking film discussing AIDS at a time when ignorance and prejudice were commonplace.

It deals with the subject in an intelligent, non patronising and sensitive manner. Informative and soul destroyingly touching.

The first time I saw this film I cried like a baby and was relieved the story ended before the inevitable death.

Even now with most attitudes having undergone a shift the film still stands up as excellent piece of storytelling.
November 21, 2009
This is a five-hanky weeper. After I heard an anecdote about Sylvia Sidney going after a role intended for Eva Le Gallienne in this film, I decided to seek it out and I'm very glad I did.

As the first tele-film to deal with AIDS, An Early Frost explores the epidemic on a small scale, following Michael Pierson, a young Chicago lawyer (played by Aidan Quinn, in a beautifully honest, Emmy-nominated performance) as he learns he has the disease. Forced to reveal the one-two punch to his family that he is gay and has also come down with "the gay plague", Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara and Sylvia Sidney all must come to grips with his disease as well as the possibility of losing their son and grandson. The intense emotions that are brought to the surface by Michael's revelation to his family lead to some of the most poignant and beautiful scenes.

This is an incredibly powerful and well-made film that unapologetically confronts AIDS in a frank and realistic manner at a time when misinformation and paranoia ran rampant in the United States. The mood of the 1985 time period (which is, of course, the present day of the film as well) is exposed and dealt with effectively through characterization and a well-rounded conveyance of facts mixed with misinformation (Michael's pregnant sister is afraid to be near him, several gay friends withdraw from his life, etc). The writers also demonstrated a lot of foresight in their portrayal of the disease, even though there are obvious instances where the information is now dated.

Sylvia Sidney's performance as Michael's devoted grandmother is certainly a stand-out and was deservedly recognized with a Golden Globe. But also not to be missed is Gena Rowlands' affect-less and sensitive portrayal of a mother trying to process what is happening to the son she adores (she leaves behind much of her usual bag of tricks for this performance), John Glover as a flamboyant and witty AIDS patient in the same hospital as Michael and D.W. Moffet, who plays his caring boyfriend who may or may not have infected him.

Remarkable for exploring the disease and its effects on those surrounding the afflicted only four years into the AIDS crisis, this is a film as powerful today as I imagine it was when it first came out.

Worth noting: D.W. Moffett also co-starred in the original production of "The Normal Heart" which came out the same year as this film, playing Ned Weeks' lover Felix Turner who learns he has AIDS halfway through the play. When I performed in that play in college in the role of Tommy Boatwright, a hospital administrator who joins the Gay Men's Health Crisis, one of my lines of dialogue always stuck out to me, "There are gonna be a lot of mommas wondering why their sons have suddenly up and died of pneumonia." This film explores the repercussions of having to come out twice: as a gay man and as a person with AIDS.

"Living with AIDS", a short documentary directed, produced and edited by Tina DiFeliciantonio, and chronicling one young man's struggle with the disease, accompanies the film as a DVD bonus feature. Todd Coleman, a 22-year-old gay man living in San Francisco and the subject of the short, died before the film was bravely shown on broadcast television.
½ June 21, 2009
A poignant drama about AIDS in 1985. This groundbreaking film does not play with cliches but manages to show sympathy and compassion to the leading character diagnosed with an awful disease. Gena Rowlands and Sylvia Sidney are terrific as the mother and grandmother. Aidan Quinn is fine as the young man with AIDS. The film is a bit dated, but it shows the hardships during the beginning of the disease. We have come a long way since 1985, but there is still a long way to go as people still are ignorant of this life altering disease.
September 13, 2008
The first movie to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis. It needed to be made to dispel the myths of this awful virus. I commend everyone that worked on that film. A movie made about AIDS in 1985 could have meant the end of their careers but they felt the movie's message was more important. Good for them!
July 4, 2008
A classic if there ever is one! Ahead of its time!
March 25, 2008
if there was ever a thing as a perfect movie... for the time it was made, it would have been heartwrenching to watch, yet educational at the same time... loved the acting, the storyline, and how it focused on life more than death. beautiful movie
½ January 4, 2008
Earnest and courageous for its time, well made and well acted...just not that interesting. Sorry.
½ January 3, 2008
While innovative for its time (1985), the cheese factor hasn't endured well in this portrayal of the early years of AIDS. Good peformances, cringe-worthy soundtrack.
December 14, 2007
Yes, I liked it. I was young, and this was possibly the first movie I saw about "the gays"
½ November 28, 2007
Breakthrough for the time, not much to it.
November 18, 2007
Shows how a lot of familys can not deal with their children being gay. But when you come down with HIV that is when you find out who your real family is.
August 31, 2007
want to see just for Aidan Quinn
August 29, 2007
Love this film!!! Great Acting
April 23, 2007
Very good movie,but sad
April 23, 2007
Very dramatic film,but sad
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2007
great important film, some of the information is obviously dated but the strong performances by all involved make it a powerful experience
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