The subject matter of Life Support is heavy, so be prepared when you rent it. It focuses on an HIV support group with a handful of women trying to find hope within a terrible diagnosis. Queen Latifah stars as a woman who contracted the illness through drug use with her husband, Wendell Pierce. Years earlier, her addiction led to the custody loss of her daughter. Now a teenager with frustrations of her own, Rachel Nicks lives with her grandmother but can't seem to make peace with her mother's attempted involvement in her life. Her best friend, Evan Ross, has HIV and doesn't care about taking care of himself.
I see no reason why this movie had to be a tv-movie. It felt like a theatrical production, the acting was top-notch, and the story was far more moving and interesting than The Dallas Buyers Club. I read a quote from Stanislavski about acting, that it should be about speaking softly and thinking loudly. Queen Latifah completely embodies that quote, as during every spoken line several other thoughts come across in her expression. From her first scene, as she doles out her morning array of pills and swallows them in silence, to her last silent closeup, she's constantly telling the audience what she's feeling but not saying. If you've only seen Queen Latifah in musicals, pick out one of her heavy movies, like Life Support, Bessie, or Mama Flora's Family. You won't be disappointed by her talent.
This movie carries a powerful message, and it's both dramatic and educational. In some scenes, we see a woman moving on with her life; in others, we see a boy throwing his away. During the support group sessions, we hear different perspectives of women who have HIV. Some are afraid to tell people, some are still searching for love, some are angry at themselves. This is a very emotional drama that deals with family connections, regrets, and mistakes that can't be unmade.
DLM Warning: If you suffer from vertigo or dizzy spells, like my mom does, this movie might not be your friend. The support group sessions are filmed with a handheld camera and that will make you sick. In other words, "Don't Look, Mom!"