‘Retro AIDS Tale Earns Its Tears’ – Dan Callahan, The Wrap
1985 Cert 15 1h 25min 7pm Eldon Building Screening Room 1.10 Wednesday 19 February
The distraught Adrian returns home for Christmas to tell his conservative family about his recent diagnosis of AIDS. After spending three years away working in New York, Adrian’s newfound crisis compels him to return to the trappings of his religious household. Immediately upon his return, the family’s old doctrine is a cold shoulder for Adrian, casting him the same side glances and odd looks he’s been fighting all his childhood.
As the title tells us, the narrative is set in 1985 against the sociocultural backdrop of the AIDS epidemicâ€”still in its early yearsâ€”which fuelled multiple panics across the US. And those panics, the push-backs against any kind of sympathy for Adrian’s crisis, is what torments him throughout the movie’s black-and-white desolate territory. Whether it’s an old ex-girlfriend or his much younger brother trying to pull Adrian out of his repressed shell, he is hell-bent to struggle pretending to be a person he’s left behind years ago. However, as the outside tensions find their way into Adrian’s household, his lies begin to unwind.
The perspective accumulated over the 30 years since the AIDS outbreakâ€”tactfully woven into Adrian’s storyâ€”offers a profound update to 1985‘s tragic tale of courage in the face of adversity.