Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Quiet Heroes

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Quiet Heroes

Article excerpt

Quiet Heroes (2018), dir. Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, and Amanda Stoddard

I think of this movie as one of three interwoven stories. First there is the story of HIV/Aids. How mysterious the disease was, how quickly it appeared and how quickly it became an epidemic, how devastatingly cruel it was and how quickly it brought death, a very painful death. This part of the story reminds us how quickly things can change, how vulnerable we are to forces beyond our control. And it demonstrates our fear of living in a world in which we are not in charge, over which we have little control.

The second story is about the response to HIV/AIDS. This is the part of the story that makes you angry. Only one doctor in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, Dr. Kristen Ries, would treat patients with HIV/AIDS. Other doctors refused to do so, failing to follow the physician's dictum to "first, do no harm." The political response brought out a number of laws against homosexuality, even attacking married couples where one partner was gay. And maybe most important was the religious response. In Utah, much of the religious response came from the LDS Church, but they were not alone in their attack on homosexuals. Many said that this was God's way of punishing sinners, that gays deserved this ravaging disease, that this was a case of just deserts. Families were torn apart, gays were exiled from their communities and failed to receive treatment that might have helped them, all in the name of religion.

Finally there is the story of the "quiet heroes. …

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