An Early Frost

(Reposted From Sept. 18, 2006)
The first major film to deal openly with HIV/AIDS, An Early Frost finally comes to DVD, courtesy of Wolfe Releasing. Nominated for fourteen Emmy Awards, this important movie arrived on TV in 1985, drawing attention to a disease no one wanted to mention, and to the stigma around it.

A strong cast keeps the issues from overtaking the story, and their performances still make it well worth viewing. Aidan Quinn plays a man who finds out he is HIV positive, breaks up with his longtime lover, and then comes out to his shocked parents as both gay and HIV positive. In portraying his parents, Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara express convincingly mixed emotions. 

Out actor John Glover gives a predictably charming performance, much more like one of the twins he plays in the gay classic Love! Valour! Compassion! than like his creepy performance in TV’s Smallville. Terry O’Quinn (TV’s Lost) and Bill Paxton (Apollo 13) impress in small but significant roles. 

Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman (producers of the American Queer As Folk series) wrote the screenplay and produced. John Erman directed. They made a movie that captures both a particular era in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the timeless need for families to love unconditionally. I also suggest John Erman’s 1991 TV movie Our Sons, which deals with many of the same issues, but from the perspective of two mothers.

Duane Simolke, author, Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure; co-author, The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure and The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. Visit Duane Simolke’s Homepage

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