How to Survive a Plague - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How to Survive a Plague Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 2, 2016
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overview of that which was the most devastating plague that hit the world in the past century, and an essential historical document that shows how activism played the most important role during the acme of the epidemic.
June 11, 2016
anti- Catholic protest due to condemnation of condom use in the midst of aids epidemic: act up must fight against FDA to get anti-virals approved at a quicker rate
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2015
Thankfully the battle against AIDS is becoming ancient history (at least this side of Africa). This documentary reminds us of the grim fight to change attitudes and the number of people who unfortunately died before better treatment options could be developed.
½ December 3, 2015
I feel like this documentary is walking on thin ice with its political context, but I still believe it is a worthwhile adventure into the action group that saved millions when no one else would.
November 22, 2015
How to Survive a Plague paints and intimate and compelling picture of the activists who demanded justice and inspired healing during the American AIDS epidemic. While it suffers from inconsistencies in pacing, the story HtSaP has to tell is as important and moving now as it has ever been. It's not just about AIDS, it's about the power of organizing to save lives.
½ May 26, 2015
Effectively compressing a massive amount of archival footage into a comprehensive, chronological documentation of the AIDS epidemic, "How to Survive a Plague" may focus specifically on the deliberate genocide that took the lives of tens of millions of LGBT people, but it's ultimately about so much more than AIDS. Questions are raised about the inefficiencies of stagnant bureaucracies, pharmaceutical companies who hold out on releasing vital medications so that they can profit off of the deaths of the afflicted, institutionalized homophobia that still kills people to this day, the ignorance of those in power who don't have to witness and experience LGBT life/oppression and would prefer to ignore gay existence altogether, the horrific failure of religious abstinence-only non-sex education and other forms of religious oppression by those who's ignorance and distribution of false information directly results in the deaths of millions of human beings, as well as the the need for intersectionality in related activist movements.

The story of these people couldn't be more compelling (the fact that several of these self-educated ACT UP members knew they would die before a cure was found is truly heartbreaking and leads to several moments of overwhelming emotional poignancy and power as they confront this fact). The movement ultimately embodies everything America is supposed to represent in that they rallied and called on their government to act in a way that was truly representative of their interests. That being said, it's also painfully evident that the country still has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with institutional forms of oppression as the rhetoric employed by conservatives two or three decades ago is still horrifically prevalent in modern day political discourse.

It's vital viewing for any member of the LGBT community or anyone who truly wants to understand what it's like to have to fight tooth and nail for every ounce of political and social recognition in a society that blindly fears the unknown out of misguided faithfulness to outdated codes of morality.
February 23, 2015
The narrative of this documentary is told through video footage of meetings and protests from 1987 to 1995. Throughout the human side of the epidemic shown as the members of ACT UP slowly fade into a gaunt death. The US government had all but refused to increase funding, and so these condemned men became makeshift scientists and drug-smugglers in an effort to survive. While the science of this movie went a little over my head, what resonates is their effort to not be ignored while another life is lost every 4 minutes. The fight for human dignity is overwhelming. As is the power of strong-willed group activism which can help push an ignored issue to the forefront and saved millions of lives.
While it's obviously not the most sunny documentary there is an uplifting power in seeing people fight for survival. It also gives the viewer a chance to reflect on the modern struggle of LGBT and medical rights, giving perspective to how much we have (and have not) progressed in the past 3 decades.
½ October 12, 2014
A dull documentary that should have been provocative and thought provoking comes across dull and with a lack of empathy. With protagonists that are un-relatable and unapologetic they come across as more of rebel rousers than the heroes they should have been.
September 21, 2014
Interesting enough documentary on the activist group advocating for approval provision of HIV drugs by the FDA.
½ August 17, 2014
there were some truly poignant moments in this film, and some innovative choices in terms of filmmaking. Yet for me, it failed to truly touch me at an emotional level because it lacked the personal vulnerability and emotional reality that often make documentaries stand out for me. the film did a great job showing the collective power of a movement, but without underlying humanity, there was nothing to ground your experience and the endless protests blurred into one incomprehensible blob.
½ August 12, 2014
Riveting and inspiring.
½ July 31, 2014
Powerful and enlightening. Proof positive that activism can change the world. I can't think of a more important movie to stir you to action. This film simply must be seen.
July 19, 2014
An amazing documentary about the rise of the AIDS epidemic and the creation of ACT UP and TAG. A film that anyone that has ever been touched by HIV/AIDS should watch. A film that every person that falls under the umbrella of LGBT should also watch. You have to know your history so you aren't doomed to repeat it.
May 28, 2014
An amazing and essential documentary for everyone to see. Required viewing.
May 23, 2014
I don't fault these guys for doing what they had to do to survive, who can blame them. You can go up against protesters who are literally fighting for there lives.
April 27, 2014
Another AIDS documentary.
March 11, 2014
If you haven't seen it yet I guess my real question is "why haven't you?". Essential viewing, especially for those of you who are fawning over "Dallas Buyers Club". This is the real thing.
March 7, 2014
Really interesting and informative. Amazing how quickly so much of this has been forgotten.
February 11, 2014
This looks genuinely hopeful.
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