Watch An Early Frost
An Early Frost is a 1985 made-for-television movie that tells the story of a young lawyer, Michael Pierson (Aidan Quinn), who returns home to Chicago to inform his parents, Katherine (Gena Rowlands) and Nick (Ben Gazzara), that he has HIV. His family's initial reaction is one of denial and shock, but they eventually come to terms with his diagnosis and support him in his fight against the disease.
The movie, which aired on NBC, was groundbreaking for its time, as it was one of the first major productions to deal with the issue of HIV/AIDS. The film depicts the fear and prejudice surrounding the disease in the 1980s, as well as the devastating impact it had on those who were infected.
The cast of An Early Frost includes some of the most respected actors of their era, including Rowlands and Gazzara, who had previously worked together on multiple films. The film also features Sylvia Sidney in one of her final roles, as Katherine's mother, who is initially unsympathetic to Michael's situation but comes to understand the gravity of the situation.
The film was directed by John Erman, who had previously directed numerous television movies and episodes of popular TV shows such as M*A*S*H and Roots. The script was written by Ronald Bass, who would later win an Oscar for his work on Rain Man.
The movie's portrayal of HIV/AIDS was groundbreaking for its time, as it was one of the first major productions to address the issue on a national scale. The film depicts the fear and ignorance surrounding the disease, as well as the devastating impact it had on those who were infected.
One of the key themes of the movie is the importance of family support. Michael's family struggles to come to terms with his diagnosis, but eventually rallies around him and helps him through his illness. The film also explores the impact that HIV/AIDS had on the LGBTQ community, as Michael's partner, Peter (D.W. Moffett), is also HIV-positive.
An Early Frost was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, winning four, including Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Quinn. The film was also praised for its performances, particularly those of Rowlands and Gazzara, who were praised for their emotional portrayal of Michael's parents.
The film's impact on public perception of HIV/AIDS cannot be overstated. An Early Frost helped to raise awareness of the disease and sparked important conversations about the need for greater understanding and compassion towards those who were affected by it. The film was also notable for its inclusion of accurate medical information about the disease, which helped to dispel many of the myths and misconceptions that existed at the time.
In conclusion, An Early Frost is a landmark film that tackled a difficult issue with honesty, sensitivity, and compassion. The movie's groundbreaking approach to HIV/AIDS helped to raise awareness of the disease and paved the way for future productions that would address the issue in a more direct and nuanced manner. The film's emotional yet honest portrayal of a family coping with the impact of the disease remains relevant and affecting to this day.