Picks and Pans Review: An Early Frost
TV has proved that it can use drama to inform you on an issue: wife abuse in The Burning Bed, incest in Something About Amelia, Alzheimer's disease in Do You Remember Love. Now TV turns to another highly charged issue, the frightening and fatal epidemic of AIDS. Aidan (Desperately Seeking Susan) Quinn plays a gay attorney who learns he has AIDS and goes home to face his family: parents Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands and grandmother Sylvia Sidney. Too much is made of Gazzara's refusal to accept the fact that his son is gay. That family trauma has been covered before, in 1972's That Certain Summer and last season's Consenting Adult. Besides, Gazzara looks awfully inhuman obsessing on sexuality while his son is dying. In fact, the realization that a diagnosis of AIDS is a death sentence comes too late for every character; they're all too calm for too long. And often, the medical facts are dispensed too clinically. That's the way these issue movies are: To stay informative, evenhanded and not exploitive or shocking, either the facts or the drama sometimes get in the way. So never mind the quibbling. This is not an ordinary movie, meant only to entertain. What An Early Frost tries to do is bring humanity to its subject, and it does that well, thanks especially to Quinn's cool but gripping performance. An Early Frost tells you more about AIDS than many news stories or any hysterical gossip can. Despite its constraints, it is a fine show.
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