I think The Normal Heart is a story about ignorance, indifference, fear, insecurity, interests beyond civil rights, and confusion.
BUT, MOST OF ALL, it is a story about the strong will to go beyond this ignorance, indifference, fear, insecurity, confusion, and use some of this fear, confusion and insecurity as a great tool for motivation and courage in finding a way out of it.
The story of The Normal Heart starts in 1981 in America, New York State, and tries to explore the gay community perspective over the apparition and extension of the HIV.
After attaining the right to appear together publicly, enjoying an apparently free right of speech and expression, this new form of cancer seems to be spreading only among the gay communities, thus leaving the heterosexuals and American government totally indifferent towards the matter.
Unlike the today society when, AIDS and HIV effects and possible causes are very known by the straight or gay communities around the world, back then, it only raised confusion and fear that it might spread around.
Julia Roberts, play the role of one of the only doctors that start working to finding a clue to what’s causing this unusual virus to appear and extend so fast.
Among the chain of scenes that build up the puzzle, the one that stroke me the most is the scene where, Emma, the doctor played by Julia Roberts, that for then last 3 years had been trying to raise data, and find a way to detect the cause of the virus, is being rejected the funding by the government, which gives as an only argument, her confusion and yet unclear results.
So, instead of concentrating on a solution, the government sends people that have no connection to medicine and no familiarity to the medical cases that are being investigated. Nevertheless, they are given the right to make decisions, which are usually based on financial, political and of course, personal interests.
So, yes, as it seems, history repeats so often, that sometimes makes you believe, that maybe is not actually repeating, but there is always this yet unwritten rule, of saving the appearance beyond social or civil good and rights.
The way Mark Ruffalo, that plays one of the spokesmen of the gay community, tries to find resources to funding the medical investigations, tries to make their voices heard beyond sexual discrimination, fear and confusion, and his passing emotional states from determination, strong will to humility, fury and surprise in front of indifference, gave me an even stronger perspective on how much our mentality is influenced through education, social and cultural habits, that it can get one to that stage of ignoring real life issues, just because “they are the other and are not the same.”
You can see how hard it is to go beyond these socially learnt ideas on what gay means, even by observing the relationship between Mark Ruffalo and his brother, who, although supports and loves him, cannot accept him as “one of their own.” I could see in this case, how sometimes is not bad will, there are just some ideas so deeply, profoundly integrated in our common mentality, that they become part of our perspective on life and how it should be lived.
I also believe this is not only the case of the gay community, this happens in many other social and cultural situations.
And maybe that, when trying to find a solution to a very visible problem, how is the case of the apparition of HIV and its first extension among the gay communities, things worked so slowly in trying to find a medical reason for this yet unknown virus, because it as also something mixed with the fear, confusion, insecurity of the people, for admitting something that was “different from what they were”, and that gave them a relief, but not the security that it would not happen to them too.