Wow, this film was so incredibly powerful. Though I knew some about AIDS before watching this film, I was no aware of the level of importance it also had socially. One of the most powerful quotes at the beginning of this film was “You have to get out of the mode of you are going to cure people, you have to get into the mode of caring for people.” I think this sums up the entire movie very well, the most important thing you can give to someone is showing that they matter, are loved, and are cared for. One of the most heart-breaking parts of this film was seeing all of the patients struggling and hurting without their family or friends beside them, just because it was seen as a “gay” disease. If it was any other disease, unrelated to being a homosexual, I feel like the amount and support and love they received would have been much greater. As one man with HIV who was being interviewed put it, “people look at the condition and lose sight that there is a person there.” This is an incredibly important statement because in the beginning people with AIDS were not treated like human beings, they were being refused treatment by some and other would completely gown up around them even after they knew it was spread through bodily fluids and not just touch or through the air.
Because AIDS was stigmatized so much, the fact that so many nurses came to help out and treat them as human beings with feelings and emotions was really moving. It was incredibly powerful that they changed the rules so that AIDS patients could define family in their own way and have visitors, even pets come and comfort them. The biweekly dinners and entertainment created a since of community and joy in a time of uncertainty and pain. These nurses and doctors made their patients experience as pleasant as it could be given the circumstances. I loved that the film focused so much on touch and hand holding. As human beings, we all need contact with others and it is not the same when someone is wearing gloves and masks around you, it is not genuine. This really struck me personally because my grandfather passed near the beginning of the semester and the last week he was in hospice, all he wanted to do was hold people’s hands. Though he could no longer talk, this was his way of communicating to us that he loved us; and it was our way of showing him that we were there. All people need love and support no matter what sexuality they identify with, what race or age they are, or their socioeconomic status. People are people no matter what. People should be cared for and shown compassion no matter what.