Life Support

Life Support is inspired by the true story of Andrea Williams (AW), sister of Nelson George, the director of this movie. The result is a poignant tale of loving, losing and letting go.

In the movie, AW is Ana Wallace, played by Queen Latifah, which was the reason I borrowed the DVD. Together with Jamie Foxx, they are two of the Executive Producers.

Ana is a HIV-positive former drug addict from Brooklyn. She now works with other HIV-positive women in an AIDS prevention and support group and is passionately involved in an AIDS outreach programme.

Brooklyn has the highest rate of HIV-positive people so she tries to focus on Brooklyn and educate people, giving them tools that they need so they won’t become infected with HIV. The story is truthful of the reality of how the virus is affecting people and the reality of how families grapple wiht the complexities of this.

A lot of the movie is about forgiveness, about how difficult it is, with the virus or without the virus, to forgive. The story tells of Ana’s strength, her ability to overcome, her courage and how she is manifested in this virus and then makes it a force for good both in her life and in the lives of people she touches.

This is a slice of modern life; a second-chance story and a redemption. Previously, Ana’s passion might have been drugs, but now that passion goes from drugs to preventing drug abuse, to being an activist, to being a mother. HIV is a terrifyiing epidermic that is preventable.

The movie is also a little emotional roller-coaster. The most emotional scene I find to be the final Rooftop Memorial scene, where each month all in the support group, their families and friends, gather to give thanks to those who stand alongside them to give them the strength and courage to carry on, and to release balloons in honour of those they have lost. And they do it with love, with sorrow and with the hope that one day a cure would be found for this virus.

The music used here reflect the tough but aesthetic streets, tough places, tough topics, tough subject matter. It is somewhat like a ‘stylish’ documentary. Of the more than a dozen songs and pieces, I only recognised Thelonious Monk’s Ugly Beauty, an excellent choice.

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