5B movie poster

It’s a case of lackluster presentation taking a backseat to historical importance when Dan Kraus and double-Oscar-winner Paul Haggis take us inside San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 5B, the first inpatient facility in the country designed specifically to provide compassion and treatment to AIDS patients. The was 1983, a bygone era where people believed the virus was capable of being transmitted through the air or by casual contact, a time when co-workers burned the desk of a colleague who died of AIDS-related complications. The dedicated unit was built by volunteer nurses looking to offer comfort to the sick. (It gives pause to consider the power of human touch.) Many return to tell their stories, and in many cases emotions haven’t diminished one bit. A second act reveal — the identity of a caregiver, accidentally stuck by a needle and later infected — packs a dramatic wallop. 2019.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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