Overview: Author, activist and playwright Larry Kramer is a political firebrand who gave voice to the outrage and grief that inspired a generation of gay men and lesbians to fight for their lives. This pioneering activist co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where his calls for direct action protest made AIDS a national issue, forever changing public health policy.
This documentary is highlighted by present-day footage as he reminisces about his life in the midst of battling complications from a liver transplant and a decade of living with HIV. Featuring unprecedented access to Kramer in his hospital room with David Webster, his partner and now husband, the film paints a vivid picture of a divisive man who has fought tirelessly for gay rights.
LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER includes Kramer’s frank reflections on coming to terms with his sexuality and his career success. One of the most outspoken and controversial figures in contemporary gay America, this complicated man is known simultaneously as egotistic and selfless, angry and inspiring, rude and caring. To his admirers, Kramer is a prophet whose early warnings to the gay community about promiscuity and AIDS now read as eerily prescient. He is the irrefutable father of the AIDS movement, which has ushered in a new era of strength and advancement in the struggle for LGBT rights.
Expectations: Every societal category out there has its icons. Larry Kramer evidently is one of those icons, but not one that I know a substantial amount about. Okay, I don’t know anything about him except that he was the playwright behind “The Normal Heart” which I also would not have known anything about if it was not for the HBO Film of 2014. So I am in for a bit of an education here. Except for a few cinematic moments like the adaptation of Kramer’s play and ANGELS IN AMERICA I don’t know much of the sociological & political underpinnings of the Gay Movement or of its heroes. I will after watching this 87 minute documentary.
Gut Reaction: One crucial moment in Gay History keeps on being shown and that is the AIDS Scare of New York City. Larry Kramer was at the heart of that and so much more. I can easily see how he has been elevated to the icon for that lifestyle that he has. He has fought hard for the cause as this documentary proves. And even if you are not homosexual it doesn’t hurt to understand the plight and concerns of a section of society. I am not asking anyone to accept it, like it, feel comfortable with it or sway anyone’ s opinion for or against the lifestyle or same-sex marriage Just on a human rights and American cultural history standpoint the journey as seen from Larry Kramer’s perspective should be watched.
The nicest element that LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE AND ANGER offers is the recent on-camera time Kramer gives. This biography is more valid with his current reflections and comments added. It makes it not just a retrospective on his life, but pulls it into today’s times. He is alive just not so well, but at least alive and still seems to be fighting for his cause. It seems that if gay culture needed a champion they couldn’t have done better than Larry Kramer and good for them.
In Conclusion: I guess I have already said it. Every cause needs its icon, its champion, its hero. For the gay population Larry Kramer is it.
Next Week: An encore presentation of FIRST COMES LOVE airs on 07.06 and the premiere of MY DEPRESSION: THE UPS AND DOWN AND UPS OF IT the following Monday 07.13. It is an animated short film about the mental condition.
About The Author
Editor at Large of HBOWatch.com and the internet's foremost HBO expert.