January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

As Is

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
86 minutes
performer
Robert Carradine, Bruce Davison, Jonathan Hadary, Stephen Caffrey, Colleen Dewhurst
director
Michael Lindsay-Hogg
genre
Drama
We gave it an A

Any movie addressing a subject as serious and controversial as AIDS can easily be undone by good intentions.

Luckily, As Is goes another route, refusing to embalm its characters in nobility; they’re brought vividly to life by playwright William Hoffman’s eloquently brutal script. Produced as a Broadway play in 1985, As Is was later re-created for the Showtime cable network and videocassette release. Here, a selfish writer suffering from AIDS (Carradine) confronts his nebbishy ex-lover (Hadary), who agrees to take him back ”as is.” Hadary’s act of unconditional love is in no way idealized, revealing a disturbing yet realistic sort of emotional masochism. Such gray areas give the play its nagging dimension. Unlike the public-service-announcement approach of Longtime Companion, As Is is art. A

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