Parents' Guide to

How to Survive a Plague

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Moving doc follows AIDS scourge and history of gay activism.

Movie NR 2012 110 minutes
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First-time director David France expertly weaves together footage from the 1980s and '90s to create a moving narrative in which advocates for a cure were themselves sufferers of the disease. The urgency of their quest is palpable as some activists make the point that cures may not be found in time to save them. The movie follows many ACT UP members as they grow thinner and paler over their years of struggle, and we learn that some don't survive the disease's ravages. France had covered the epidemic as a journalist and his partner died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992. Although he maintains a professional view, his own connection to the material may be part of what imbues How to Survive a Plague with an urgency and a sense of appropriate outrage that will resonate with viewers.

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