How to Survive a Plague 2012

How to Survive a Plague

Critics Consensus

Angry, powerful, and stirring, How to Survive a Plague is a brilliantly constructed documentary about the activists who pushed for action to combat the AIDS epidemic.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 80

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,063

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Movie Info

In the late 1980s, members of Act-Up and other AIDS activists battle indifference and hostility to bring attention to the disease and play a huge role in reducing the number of AIDS-related fatalities in the U.S.

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Critic Reviews for How to Survive a Plague

All Critics (80) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (78) | Rotten (2)

  • David France's rousing and inspirational documentary should be required viewing for political activists everywhere.

    May 26, 2020 | Full Review…
  • This inspirational, unexpectedly hilarious film is a patchwork of archival footage that takes us up to the present day.

    November 8, 2013 | Full Review…
  • This documentary by David France persuasively argues that one of the greatest grassroots activist campaigns of modern times was the Act Up movement ...

    November 7, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • David France's documentary about the 1980s/90s American gay community and its leading role in discovering "combination therapy" - the anti-HIV magic bullet - will be inspiring among audiences from the G20.

    November 7, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This raw and passionate AIDS treatment doc suffers from a simple lack of focus.

    November 7, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It's no whitewash: important activists from the era admit how much time was lost through internecine squabbling, as well as the struggles they faced against the pitiless anti-gay rhetoric of their political opponents.

    November 7, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for How to Survive a Plague

  • Feb 10, 2014
    An excellent documentary that effectively conveyed the desperation, fear and power of the gay community during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Really well done.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2013
    An extremely enlightening overview of that which was the most devastating plague that hit the world in the past century, and an essential historical document that shows how activism played the most important role during the acme of the epidemic.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2013
    A topic that should have been more interesting to me... but it was quite hard for my interest to survive this dull documentary - and I usually like documentaries.
    Thomas J Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2013
    "How to Survive a Plague" is a sad, yet uplifting look at the coalitions ACT UP and TAG in the battle against AIDS. This documentary uses archival footage from the 80s and 90s to show the devastating effects of AIDS, and the constant struggle to get better medication to victims. Some of the footage is heartbreaking, some will enrage you, and some will show you that with enough support and enough people pushing for a cause, that anything can happen. AIDS is still prevalent in the world today, but it isn't nearly as destructive as it was, and it's because of the people showcased in this movie. It deserved it's nominated for "Best Documentary" at the Oscars, just as much so as the other 4 nominees. The movie drags a little in the middle, but I think it's because it doesn't have much of a narrative, and relies mostly on old footage to tell the story. Fascinating movie, that shines a light on taboo subject in our world. Definitely worth a watch.
    Everett J Super Reviewer

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