A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie deals in a realistic way with the effect of drug addiction and HIV diagnosis. As such, teenager Amare manipulates friends, steals from people who take care of him, and sells his HIV medications to make money for drugs. There are several scenes of him passed out and very ill from living on the street and the effects of HIV. A main character dies from the disease by the end of the movie. There's also considerable graphic discussion of drug addiction and how it destroys families, as well as discussions of sex and condom use.
What's the story?
Queen Latifah plays Ana, an HIV-positive 30-something mother living in Brooklyn and trying to protect other African-American women from getting the disease. But it's harder for her to use her head when it comes to her own family. Now married, she's created a happy home for her younger daughter Kim. But her older daughter Kelly and her mother haven't yet forgiven Ana for the pain she caused with her drug addiction. When Kelly comes to Ana for help finding her HIV-positive friend Amare, who's homeless and left his medications at Kelly's house, Ana uses the situation to try to get close to her daughter, all while exploring the world of closeted black men.
Is it any good?
Unlike HIV fairy tales like the groundbreaking Philadelphia, there's nothing romantic about the HIV-positive hero in HBO's mesage-heavy drama LIFE SUPPORT. Ana is real -- and that means she has to cope with the wreckage of her past as a drug fiend. It takes more than good works for Ana to gain back the trust and love of those she's hurt.
Anyone who's dealt with an addicted family member will relate to this story. And anyone who's ever had a teenage child will relate to Ana's desperation to stay close to Kelly as she rolls her eyes, cocks her head, and recoils from her mom. It's heartbreaking, real, and offers the rare film portrait of an HIV-positive person who becomes a role model.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about a number of tough topics here including safe sex and drug addiction. Do you know anyone who has a drug addict in his or her family? How has it affected them? Are they angry like Ana's and Amare's families? How is the depiction of the HIV epidemic different in this movie than in others, like Philadelphia? What are the differences between how Andy Beckett deals with his HIV status and how Ana deals with it?
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