Angels in America
Meryl Streep in multiple roles – as an uptight Mormon mother with unrealised sapphic yearnings, the scorned ghost of Ethel Rosenberg and an elderly male rabbi. Emma Thompson as a beautiful and terrifying angel and a nurse with a soft butch greaser aesthetic. Al Pacino as a deeply closeted and deliciously dislikeable corrupt lawyer Roy Cohn. The farmer from Babe (James Cromwell) as a world-weary doctor. And a bunch more actors you've absolutely seen in something. This landmark 2003 HBO miniseries has everything we deserve. There's fantasy, spirituality explored with no ties to any one faith, a critical eye on Reagan-era politics, and a depiction of the AIDS epidemic that will tear your heart out and gently hold it. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1991 play of the same name by Tony Kushner, it retains many of the more theatrical elements of the storytelling, and the drama (and melodrama) holds up today. As a friend told me, this series was released way back in the “pre-streaming” era, and made for fascinating water cooler conversations when it was first incrementally released. Binge-watching it for the first time over another lockdown weekend in 2021, I was struck by the stark comparisons between the current pandemic and the one that ravaged the queer community in the ’80s. AM
Where to watch it: You can stream it on Foxtel Now.