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86

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: How To Survive A Plague is the untold story of the efforts that turned AIDS into a mostly manageable condition – and the improbable group of young men and women who, with no scientific training, infiltrated government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry, and helped identify promising new compounds, moving them through trials and into drugstores in record time. These drugs saved their lives and ended the darkest days of the epidemic, while virtually emptying AIDS wards in American hospitals. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 27, 2012
    100
    We're now far enough from that era that seeing it all again feels like a slap to the face in the same way that watching certain moments in the civil rights epic "Eyes on the Prize" chills your bones. This doesn't have that series' stately magnitude. It's smaller and crasser, but it's comparatively galvanic.
  2. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    Sep 20, 2012
    100
    One of the best documentaries, and best films, of the year, it is required viewing for anyone with a desire for making their own world a better place, inspiring you to act up and fight back.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Sep 20, 2012
    95
    ACT UP soldiers on today, as it must, given the lack of official attention to the resurgence of HIV among young American men in metropolitan areas.
  4. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Sep 16, 2012
    88
    Presents a cast of characters who must continue fighting, for what's at stake is the very real, very imminent threat of their own deaths.
  5. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Sep 21, 2012
    88
    How to Survive a Plague, while a shaggier-structured documentary than many, is a heart-wrenching portrait of one of the saddest, most heroic chapters in American history.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 7, 2013
    80
    As activist Larry Kramer remarked, the movement had "its good cops and its bad cops", and there is a remarkable, angry, passionate funeral speech from campaigner Bob Rafsky that helped mobilise Act Up and awaken America's conscience.
  7. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 11, 2012
    50
    Scrappy and unsubtle where "We Were Here" is elegant and nuanced, How to Survive a Plague isn't nearly as formally beautiful as its predecessor.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Sep 21, 2012
    10
    Truly inspiring story of the early struggles and eventual success of the AIDS treatment movement. Documenting the early NYC days of the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s, this film shows never before seen found footage of AIDS patients and activists struggling to convince others the importance of finding a cure. Admittedly, I expected a depressing and slow documentary. What I found was truly moving and remarkably fascinating. Expand
  2. Dec 28, 2012
    10
    The best documentary of the year. The archival footage is amazing! The deaths cuased by the lack of action by President George H. Bush is heart breaking. Kudos to the documentarians for keeping our history alive. I thought the documentary would be depressing instead it was a joyous account of the heros and heroines who took action and helped find a cure for AIDS!!! Expand
  3. Sep 24, 2012
    8
    A truly powerful film about a group of individuals who, through force of will and against the threat of imminent death, moved big Pharma, federal, state, and local governments and society at large into action to develop drugs which would save many of their lives. I would have given the film a higher score had it been a bit more even-handed politically. I don't blame the individuals in the film for lashing out at Reagan & Bush the elder. They were in power - the buck stopped with them. Other than a brief sequence, the film gives Clinton a pass. And the film completely ignores what George W. Bush did for AIDS treatment in Africa - that is, more than any other world leader had ever done. Had it at least made this acknowledgement, it would have been a near-perfect doc. (All the shots of George HW Bush golfing? Far too partisan without the shots of Clinton at all the Arkansas basketball games, etc.) Expand
  4. Jan 12, 2013
    1
    In my estimation you must show two sides of a subject to consider yourself a documentary. We see maybe two or three shots of various politicians saying slightly inflammatory things and this is the only opposing perspective we receive. Then in the the final half hour of the film we see our heroes admitting that most everything they did during the first hour and a half was misguided, but they redeem themselves with their actions at the end. There is no evidence in this film that the group Act Up had anything to do with the progress that has been made in Aids research. Their is also no evidence in this film that the politicians that they demonize stalled Aids research in any way. I'm sure that this film is getting the positive publicity that it is because it revolves around the scariest most deadly disease of the last 30-40 years. However if you are going to pass your film off as a documentary as pure fact and not an editorial then you need to give me some facts to hold on to. This is no documentary. Collapse

See all 5 User Reviews

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