But, despite its flaws, I'd rather focus more of the positive parts of the film. The following are the 5 strongest moments of the film, These scenes shows how it's not difficult to be affected by the end of the film, due to the strong script and performances by the cast.
5. Final fight between Ned and Felix
Ned screaming and throwing food at his dying lover is one of the more distressing scenes in this movie. For the majority of the movie, I never fully believed Mark Ruffalo as the angry agitator Ned Weeks/Larry Kramer, partially because he will always be the damaged but vulnerable cinematic brothers Terry from You Can Count on Me and Paul from The Kids Are All Right (I think this will be a future blog post), but also because I couldn't believe an activist could be so unstrategic in his continuous agitation tactics. I was sick of all his screaming throughout the film, and I could not have dealt with it day in day out, especially in meetings with people where tact and diplomacy is required - I fully supported his dumping. But here, Ned's anger and frustration in the context of the personal is organic, believable, and ultimately devastating. His slow floor crawl back in apology show glimpses of that naked vulnerability that is the best thing about Mark Ruffalo. I don't think I ever fully forgave Ned for this outburst, but it surely made me cry.
4. Tommy's funeral speech
I always find it heartbreaking when the most reserved and composed of us break down. There are situations where even the most optimistic of us break down. In this scene, Jim Parsons lets some anger and frustration out as he can't keep it inside any longer.
3. Dr Death's monologue
Another powerful example of fury and frustration that can no longer be hidden. With a supporting performance by Julia Robert's trademarked forehead vein.
2. Bed-side wedding
This is more Mark Ruffalo's strong point - teary-eyed vulnerability. And this is Matt Bomer at his most raw and beautiful. Forget his perfectly defined body (okay fine, don't forget it - how could anyone forget naked Matt Bomer?). It's those clear expressive eyes, ever present and warm on his face, whether chiseled or hollow, that makes the performance. If you weren't already crying, this is the scene that should do it.
1. Mickey's breakdown
Thanks Joe Mantello. This is the part of the movie where my relatively silent sniffling went into full hyperventilating ugly-cry mode. This isn't the breakdown of the always angry agitator Ned or the charismatic leader Bruce, it's the breakdown of the quiet everyman, neither leader nor villain - just the average dedicated worker without whose dedication and assistance no work can get done. The average worker who works because he believes it will make a difference, and breaks down when he can no longer try anymore in the face of unreasonable, hateful and ignorant inaction. I think this is the moment that would connect with the majority of the people and even the activists who watch this film. Most activists aren't the Neds or Bruces of the world - they are more likely the Mickey's and Tommy's. It's their dedication, love and compassion that powers the normal hearts around the world.