February 27, 2014 at 06:32 PM EST

Ryan Murphy’s sure-to-devastate film The Normal Heart has a premiere date.

The star-packed project based on Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning play of the same name tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, “taking an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.” The cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts. A trailer (not yet released) was shown to critics at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in January and the initial reaction in the room was that it’s a pretty emotional piece of filmmaking.

The Normal Heart will debut Sunday, May 25. The Memorial Day release strategy was the same that HBO used for last year’s Behind the Candelabra. It also gives Game of Thrones a week off during a holiday weekend which typically has lower viewership levels.

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