Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: NR Length: 109 minutes
Age Appropriate for: 14+. I think the film is at a PG-13 maturity level; it has shocking content regarding the AIDS epidemic, but it’s also important, impactful stuff. Some cursing, the discussion of sex and the spread of AIDS, and depressing thematic material, including images of those with the disease and the prominent discussion of sickness and death. But ultimately, it’s appropriate for teenagers who want to better understand the topic and related science and activism.
‘How to Survive a Plague’ has a somewhat happy ending, but that doesn’t mean the documentary about the U.S.’s AIDS epidemic will make you chuckle or grin. No matter. It’s a fantastically done work about an undeniably important subject, a shocking period of American inertia that we need to remember.
By Roxana Hadadi
“How to Survive a Plague” is not an easy documentary to watch, and that’s because the AIDS epidemic was not an easy time in U.S. history. Perhaps you want to ignore the trauma and anguish of decades ago, but “How to Survive a Plague” won’t let you do that. In chronicling the efforts of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and the Treatment Action Group (TAG), two activist groups who helped fight for more effective HIV and AIDS treatment and an acknowledgment of the importance of the issue, “How to Survive a Plague” is an undeniably integral look back in our country’s past. We shouldn’t overlook these things, and how they’ve shaped us as a nation and a community and a people. It’s important that we never, ever forget.