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  • Series Premiere Date: May 25, 2014
  • Season #: 1
The Normal Heart Image

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 Ratings

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  • Summary: Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Larry Kramer's Tony-winning play about the early days of the AIDS crisis. After seeing a friend succumb to a new disease killing gay men at the offices of Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts), Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) seeks to organize more action to combat it, even as his bluntness threatens to alienate people around him including his brother Ben (Alfred Molina), his lover Felix (Matt Bomer), and Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch), a closeted investment banker. Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama, Movie/Mini-Series
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 100
    The film has poetry and vitality, too, and its greatest virtue is that it seems not to give a damn if you approve of any of its creative choices as long as you connect with it emotionally and intellectually.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 22, 2014
    Ned and just about everyone else erupts in violent arguments, denunciations, accusations, counteraccusations, diatribes--these are searing, electrifying moments, furiously articulate and delivered with escalating passion. [2 Jun 2014, p.45]
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    May 22, 2014
    The Normal Heart grows in poignancy as characters we’ve come to know are affected or afflicted by AIDS.
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    May 21, 2014
    While a miniseries might have truly been something to behold--allowing the slow helplessness to really penetrate viewers, there’s something to be said about making a big, loud noise and getting the message out--again. In that sense, both Murphy and Kramer do the play justice (as you would expect) and have created a powerful modern history reminder for those too young to understand the all-too-recent past.
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    May 22, 2014
    Murphy is a fascinating dichotomy in that he works expertly with actors and actresses (even in a mess like "Eat Pray Love" and undeniably in every season of "AHS") and so the performances he draws from his inevitably-Emmy-winning cast play tug-of-war with his melodramatic leanings and, ultimately, win the fight enough to allow his film to resonate.
  6. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    May 23, 2014
    Ultimately, the good in Normal Heart outweighs the bad, which isn't always the case with Murphy's work. It's an important story packed with vivid individual moments, but with this material and these actors, it feels like it could be so much more than what it is.
  7. Reviewed by: Brandon Nowalk
    May 22, 2014
    The performances are literally shaky, from wavering accents to tremulous monologues, but the movie’s such an overwhelming weepie that they fit right in.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
  1. Jun 2, 2014
    Straight guy who really liked the movie. Caught it on HBO Go. A little heavy in some parts but i gave it a ten because I really like the story and the education behind it, also i just thought it was a good movie, I recommend it to all! Expand
  2. May 25, 2014
    Leave it ti HBO to produce the most important movie this year, The Normal Heart is brave, sweet and raw. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts and Joe Mantello shine and deliver Oscar worthy performances. Taylor Kitsch, Jim parsons and Alfred Molina are amazing and will also fight for the Emmy´s, there are great supporting cast surprises like BD Wong, Danielle Ferland and Stephen Spinella. Expand
  3. Aug 26, 2014
    An extremely powerful movie with a very moving ending. I do have a few minor issues with it but they are not worth bringing up. The cogent screenplay, the spectacular camera movements and powerhouse performances from Ruffalo, Roberts, Bomer and Parsons are all very impressive attributes. HBO has not just made one of the most important movies of the year, but also one of the best. Expand
  4. May 27, 2014
    I'm not sure why Roberts or Ruffalo are getting so much flack -- this movie is an adaptation of a play that is largely polemical. You should expect lengthy monologues. I thought both brought a relentlessness and emotionality to their roles that the characters required. They weren't meant to be polished, Sorkin-esque banter -- they were supposed to be charged and shaky and uneven. That takes much more acting talent than the perfectly delivered speech.

    Thought the film itself was a powerful reminder of our shameful inaction and the social stigma that cost so many lives.
  5. Sep 3, 2014
    On the heels of another brilliantly moving film related to the early days of the AIDS epidemic, The Normal Heart is entirely original and just as emotional. Mark Ruffalo reaches his career-best with help from the multi-talented Julia Roberts. Ryan Murphy is impressive and proves to us all his worth in the industry. Expand
  6. May 26, 2014
    i lived through this era. it is important to remind people today how awful it was. that said, this adaptation disappointed. except for jim parson's performance, which was graceful, touching, and true, the acting was lousy. julia roberts' de-glamorizing was distracting. and she was so wrong for the role. there was a great movie here. wish it had been. Expand
  7. May 26, 2014
    Let's be clear, the story of the inaction of the government during the AIDS crisis needs to be told. I am a gay man and I loved this play when I saw it on stage. However, the acting in this adaption is incredibly sub-par. I couldn't take it within 10 minutes of starting to watch. The supporting characters were alright but the actor that represented Larry Kramer (the male lead) delivered each line in a horrible monotone. Everytime he spoke I rolled my eyes and mocked his delivery. Julia Roberts was just as bad. I gave it a 1 as I'm sure many were unaware of this history (I lived through it) Expand

See all 17 User Reviews

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