The Normal Heart’s historical & future impact

May 24, 2014 10:14 PM

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Felix, the dreamboy and doomed heartthrob of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, probably inspired the 2000 Olivier Ducastel-Jacques Martineau film The Adventures of Felix, one of the first and best movies to feature a protagonist living with HIV. In tribute to Kramer’s landmark play, a cri di ceour detailing the start of the AIDS protest movement, the French Felix (played by Sami Bouajila) really lives; journeying across Europe, he discovers a worldly sense of himself—a response to Kramer that is also a deliberately life-affirming cinematic and political gesture.

While watching the new HBO film of The Normal Heart (where Matt Bomer plays the original tragic Felix), the contrast between Kramer’s cry-of-the-heart and Ducastel-Martineau’s exuberant-yet-serious human comedy reveals the difference between pain and joy—proof of gay men’s spiritual struggle ever si...

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