This week, the internet has rightfully been full of praise for Channel 4's new show, It's A Sin. Russell T Davies' five part mini-series dropped on All4 and has fully captured the nation's hearts thanks to its empowering, educational and honest portrayal of LGBTQ+ history.
The show stars the ever-brilliant Olly Alexander as Ritchie Tozer, a young gay man in 1981 who leaves his small town life behind for the bright lights of London. There, he meets
Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) and, along with their best friend Jill, they begin a youth of adventures and fun.
But, as the official synopsis explains, "a new virus is on the rise, and soon their lives will be tested in ways they never imagined. As the decade passes, and they grow up in the shadow of AIDS, they’re determined to live and love more fiercely than ever."
If, like many, the show left you overwhelmed with new information about the 1980s Aids crisis and you want to know more, here are some brilliant TV and film suggestions of what to watch next.
The Normal Heart
Directed by Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story fame and starring everyone from Jim Parsons and Matt Bomber to Mark Ruffallo and Julia Roberts. In the early 1980s, the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York leads to an emergence of LGBTQ activists who, with the support of the medical community, try to raise awareness of the facts around the disease. From 2014.
A 1985 film about a 25-year-old man in New York who volunteers to be a "buddy" to hospital patient, who is in the final stages of AIDS. He is paired with a 32-year-old gay gardener, who shares his personal stories and nostalgic memories with his new caregiver.
Widely regarded as the first Hollywood film to tackle HIV/AIDS and homophobia, and one that eventually helped Tom Hanks win an Oscar for ‘Best Actor’. When a gay lawyer who is infected with AIDS is fired over fears colleagues might contract AIDS from him, he sues his former employer with the help of a homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington).
Released in 2018, 1985 tells the story of a closeted young man with AIDS who goes home to his conservative working-class family in North Texas for the holidays. While there, he reveals his circumstances, and an emotional and heart-wrenching film unfolds.
Dallas Buyers Club
Set in 1985 (the film came out in 2013), electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof is working the system in Dallas to help AIDS patients get medication they need to extend their lives after he is diagnosed with the disease. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto star.
120 Beats Per Minute
A 2017 French film about Nathan, a young main who joins an AIDS activist group, Act Up, in 1990s Paris. The focus on their radical approach to protests and achieving political change eventually shifts to tell their personal stories - some of which are heartbreaking.
The Living End
Often described as the gay version of Thelma and Louise (amazing), this 1993 film tells of a film critic and a wanderer's road trip as fugitives and lovers who are HIV positive.
It's A Sin is streaming now on Channel 4 and All 4.
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